Tag Archives: American Anthem

Still “Standing:” On Professional Athletes, T-Shirts, World Wars, And The Flag

Hi Friends:

This may be the hardest time I’ve ever had with writing about a particular subject.

I’ve gone back and forth with this one, thinking, praying … just wanting to do the right thing.

The whole, entire purpose of my writing, and our efforts on social media, is “to bless, inspire, and encourage.” I pray every day that we’ll be able to “bless, inspire, and encourage.”

I make every effort to not be a “news commentary” or even to comment at all on “what is happening” in our country. I see, like you, “what is happening.” There are already so many “channels” out there that supply commentary, and, yes, so much of it is negative.
There is so much good in our country, the United States of America. There is also much good in other countries. Unfortunately, so often, when we feel compelled to write about “what’s going on” we are thinking of something negative, not positive.

So … when I witnessed the WNBA season opener, and saw the players-all the players-from both teams-walk off the floor, go back to the locker room, before the National Anthem played … I can’t put into words how I felt. I wasn’t expecting that … it caught me completely off guard.

I wasn’t mad … I wasn’t angry … I was ashamed.

So, this is the hard part of all this. I so look forward to the WNBA season. First, it means Summer is finally here. Second, we are so familiar with the players, having watched so many of them … followed their careers in college … still love the women’s college basketball … In fact, I am wearing a college women’s basketball T-Shirt as I write this … So, when I saw both teams go to the locker room, so they wouldn’t have to be “subjected” to the National Anthem … well … I just felt sick inside. Real sick. In watching another WNBA game this “opening” weekend, I saw an entire WNBA team kneel, arms locked in unison, while the National Anthem played.

I have written much about my feelings toward the NFL (No Flag Loyalty) for refusing to even air the National Anthem (except maybe on Thanksgiving and Super Bowl) during an NFL (No Flag Loyalty) regular season game. Well … guess what? The WNBA hasn’t aired our National Anthem so far … and, it’s not looking any better for tomorrow.

I still, and I mean I still, don’t understand why an American citizen would not stand for our National Anthem, or would leave the field before the Anthem is played. That’s pretty much it. I just don’t understand why. And then, I don’t understand why, and I mean I still, don’t understand why someone who is an American would support someone who would not stand for our National Anthem, or support someone who would leave the field before the Anthem is played.

I never thought I would ever see the day when this would even be an issue.
Last I heard … a particular individual who gained fame for kneeling during the Anthem would, one day, be considered a hero. I hope I never see that day. But, I never thought I’d see this day, either.  

By the way, the play-by-play announcer, whom I do have much respect and admiration for, would, later, go out of his way to clarify: The WNBA teams left the floor before our National Anthem was played-and not during/or when our National Anthem was playing. He, however … did not explain what the difference between the two actions are. Meant the same to me.

I really was having trouble with this one. Should I write about this? The definition of a blog is “a website that contains online personal reflections, comments … provided by the writer.” I’ve tried not to do this, for reasons explained. However … if I wrote so much about the NFL (No Flag Loyalty) … should I … could I … ignore this? I really wanted to.  

I struggled with whether I should or shouldn’t.
Then … I noticed the T-Shirt I was wearing:

It features the soldiers raising the American Flag on Iwo Jima. I’m sure you are familiar with that image. Above the American Flag, in the sky overhead, fireworks are in dazzling display. On the bottom-right of the image, is written “FREEDOM 2001.” Yes, that’s how long I’ve worn this T-Shirt.

The American Flag. How many brave men and women have died or been injured defending it?

Yeah … I’ll stand.

I thought about this: What if we had not won the war? In this case, World War II?
What if another country won?
I guess I was thinking what if our enemy (enemies) in that war had won?
Would our highly-paid, highly-coddled athletes still refuse to stand? Would an entire team be allowed to just walk off the field of play so they would not have to be “subjected” to this Nation’s Anthem?

What would happen today, right now … in so many other countries, if an individual or entire team refused to stand for their nation’s National Anthem?

As you know, during World War II, and other wars before and since … including today … it was and is the direct actions of brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives to make, and then, to keep, us free.

I believe I know what the rest of the world (especially our “enemies”) think of this situation where people, claiming to be American citizens, refuse to honor our Flag, and our country.

Remember, the Public Address Announcer, at the stadium/arena very clearly states:
“And now, to honor America, please stand …”

To honor America.
So … that is the purpose of singing/playing our National Anthem before the game … I see …

So, this would mean, if you don’t stand to honor America …

While I stared at my T-Shirt … I wondered … I really, really did:

What do our brave men and women, around the world (including here at “home”) think about someone claiming to be an American, who will not stand or honor our Flag, or our National Anthem? I really did think about this.

So, I made the decision that the right thing to do was to voice my concern over this issue.
As an American, an American citizen, founder of a company which has “Freedom” in its name, and as an American writer, I felt I had no choice.

Yeah … I’ll stand.

And, continue to wonder: If they won’t stand for our flag, whose flag would they stand for?

I have to stand. I understand the sacrifices which were made to gain our freedom, and I understand what the American Flag represents.

My Father, and my Father-in-Law, both had American Flags draped over their caskets. I saw and heard the 21-gun salutes. Heard the bugler and “Taps.”
The last funeral of a non-family member I attended was a close friend. He, too, had the American Flag draped over his casket. I heard the bugler and “Taps.”

I support the brave men and women of the Armed Forces, and their mission and work around the globe.

Yeah … I’ll stand.

I just don’t understand why someone won’t stand to honor these men and women, and our country, our Flag.
I do understand that they have a right not to stand, I guess. But, don’t they realize the reason they have that right … the reason they have that freedom … is because of the very country they live in? That this country, the United States, allows them the freedom to live whatever lifestyle they choose … and, to share that lifestyle with whomever they choose?

Why didn’t I just turn off the TV … I couldn’t … I had to watch Sabrina Ionescu’s (followed her in college) debut game … And … and … if I had turned it off, I would not have seen this:
One of my favorite former college players, which we followed her entire career, sustained an ankle injury, and was down on the court … Before the network could cut away … I witnessed my very favorite WNBA player … kneeling next to the injured player … and, she had laid her hands on her, and was praying … yes … praying … This was similar to NFL (No Flag Loyalty) games where, after the game, there are a number of players-from both sides-who gather in a circle and pray … Yep, as soon as the cameras see this, they quickly, quickly pan away, but I’ve seen it several times after a game …

I’m writing this between WNBA games. Yes … I am still watching … but I won’t tomorrow night, and I’m thinking about future games. I keep getting calls from our closest WNBA team, trying to get me to buy season tickets. I think, now, that I will return his call, so that he will know that, as long as his team does not “honor America,” don’t call back.

If more fans took this stance: We won’t support a team which doesn’t support America … you can bet that … all of a sudden … if it was costing them money … these sports would become the most Patriotic organizations on earth …
Once again, I’ll say this: While I no longer watch Major League Baseball, last time I watched they not only sang our National Anthem, but they played “God Bless America” during the “7th-Inning stretch.” Can you imagine the uproar if the WNBA and NFL (No Flag Loyalty) wanted to sing “God Bless America” during a break in the game???

Can’t watch baseball anymore. Seems like there is not much of a penalty for cheating … even during the World Series, which, like a lot of things in this country, used to be revered …
So … should we change their name to MBL to stand for:
Mighty Big Lenses
Might Be Lying

No more baseball for me. Already cut the season. Before you know it … they’ll try to cut the number of innings they have to play …

I’m in-between games, and I’m writing. As it gets close to the second televised WNBA game, I am switching between channels (ESPN, NESN, CBSSN) to see who is carrying the “late game.” I’m not making this up: ESPN was at the end of a MSL (that’s soccer) game, and they showed highlights of the game … the teams playing were from American cities (I don’t know much about MLS), and the highlights showed an entire team kneeling during our National Anthem. I don’t know … If they don’t stand for our flag, whose flag do they stand for? I’m sure a lot of people around the world watch soccer from ‘the states … I wonder how they felt about that … Anyway … they say “MLS is back,” but for me, if this is what they “stand for” (did I just write that?), they can stay gone …

I switched to NESN … that’s New England Sports Network … the show playing was “The Best of the 2019-2020 Bruins Season” … I’m not making this up … I only watched one highlight from last season … it was Lauren Hart singing our National Anthem before a Boston Bruins/Philadelphia Flyers hockey game … I’m serious … this was a highlight of the entire season … Not only did I stand, but I made a mental note to start watching the Bruins on TV …

Then … on ESPN … you know how they scroll the headlines at the bottom of the screen?
On the NBA turn, in bold letters, it proclaimed that all coaches and players had kneeled during our National Anthem before the game … Not sure if they played the anthem live or not … that would have been honoring America … I don’t know what the score was; that didn’t seem to be as important a story …

So, in closing, I still don’t understand:
How could an American not stand for our National Anthem?
I mean … how could they not?

Whose flag would they stand for?

Do we need to change the names of the leagues to:

WNBA: We Need to Be American
WNBA: Need to Be American

MLS: Don’t care. Maybe
Might Leave Shortly.

As I’ve written, I’m not angry at all this. I know we live in a world that is lost and dying.
I know that the problem with such issues is not intelligence, but blindness.

As an American, who proudly supports our military and soldiers (past and present), I believe it is the right thing to do, to “stand and honor America.”

Next thing you know, they will try to dis-honor our police.

For our friends around the world, let me advise that, when referring to “American sports athletes,” I am writing of individuals who play for an American city or American region team, located within the United States borders. If I told you how much money they make, for playing a game, while enjoying the freedoms of living within the United States, you probably would not believe me, and especially would not believe that they would refuse the opportunity to “stand and honor” the country which allows them to have such freedom, posterity, and privilege. I know, as we support the efforts of those in “hostile and restricted” nations, that, so many of you would be tempted to say, “Why don’t you come and live over here for awhile?”

So … If you to ask me if, instead of “standing to honor our brave men and women who are proudly serving our country both here and around the world,” would I prefer to kneel …

No thanks.
I am an American.
I’ll stand.
I have to.
I’m an American.

Richard. Vincent. Rose.    

From “Modern Day PSALMS”: The Eagle Still Flies

The Eagle Still Flies
Introduction

The fabric of America is woven with the threads of time and patriotism. The fabric can be torn, or burned. But, the pattern that this cloth is made from is courage.”
Richard.Vincent.Rose.
Originally written on the back of a Wal-Mart Receipt

To fully appreciate the poem, we must go back to the days and months immediately following the events of September 11, 2001. “The Eagle Still Flies” captures the mindset of what Americans, and our friends all over the word, had at that exact moment in time.

Today, I teach students who weren’t even born in 2001. Just as we did in school, as we learned about Pearl Harbor and World War II, events which happened before we were born. What stood out then, and now, is the patriotism which these tragic events would birth across the United States, and the world. As a fan of “Old Time Radio,” I have radio programs from that era which, frankly, would not even be allowed to be broadcast on the airwaves today.

America was attacked. By an enemy who wished to destroy us, and especially, our way of life.
What the enemy did not realize, just as in World War II, was that what was called “a sleeping giant” in the 1940’s, may have been sleeping, but it was still very much alive.

As I write this, we are still at war. Daniel Webster said that “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” It simply can’t be overstated that freedom is not free, nor ever has been. One of my favorite quotes regarding military service is this: “If you don’t stand behind our troops, you are welcome to stand in front of them.”

Years ago, I had the distinct privilege of being elected to be the first vice-president of a regional writers club. The members consisted of individuals who had lived in all parts of the world. At least one of the members did not have a particularly positive view of the United States. After I had shared what was then a newly written “The Eagle Still Flies,” he offered a rebuttal of sorts, and called me a “Patriot.” His tone carried the same negative tone of what it must have sounded like when people began to call the early Disciples of Christ a “Christian.” Well, I am today, as I was that day, proud to carry the banner of “Patriot,” and be associated with others who have carried that same banner. Just as I am proud to carry the banner of Christ, and be associated with those who have, and still, carry His banner.

Original Spoken Introduction to “The Eagle Still Flies”

I’d like to share with you the original introduction, which I would dramatically read before the poem. Keep in mind that this was first presented while the memories of the terrorist attacks on our country were still fresh in our minds. This is the original copy transcript:

2 Corinthians 3:17 says that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
When I see the word, “liberty” or “freedom” I see Jesus’ name written all over it.
Thomas Paine said, in 1776, that “The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind.”

On September 11, 2001, evil called …
Interesting … 911 …
And, an entire nation answered.

We went from a nation known for rock ‘n roll
To take pride in Plymouth Rock, and “Let’s roll!”

We went from a place know as “Ground Zero”
To a place known as “Ground Hero.”

Let the word go forth
Through time and space
The United States of America is the center of peace and strength
Tranquility base is here
The eagle has landed
And the eagle still flies
Under star spangled skies

And, now …
A new patriotic poem for America …
“The Eagle Still Flies (Under Star Spangled Skies) …”

The Eagle Still Flies
A New Anthem for America

The sun came up this morning
Over a land still brave and free
Its borders still strong and standing
Against all tyranny

It seems just yesterday, I remember so well
As the morning dew slept on the towers that fell
The skies were so clear, the sunlight so bright
But evil’s conscience couldn’t sleep
And was awake through the night

Everyone can recall when they first heard the news
No one was sure how much more we would lose
Then, through the ashes, the smoke, and the flame
We realized this country would never be the same

The towers left standing
Are the towers within
The twin towers of liberty and freedom, my friend
Perched on top of these towers, the eagle will rise
To bring peace and justice to the world’s crying eyes

And the eagle still flies
Under star-spangled skies
And we still trust in God
But we won’t spare the rod
And we still say the pledge
Faith and courage
Give us the edge
And the eagle will soar
‘Cause we’re free evermore
From the hills to the shore
Yes! We’re free evermore

The eagle still flies under star-spangled skies
And our hope never dies
‘Cause the eagle still flies
Nations will rise
Buildings will fall
But there’s still one nation standing
That will answer the call
And we won’t run and hide
In our flag we still take pride
‘Cause freedom will win
Liberty we’ll defend

Through the smoke, through the fire
The wings of justice fly higher
Over canyon and tundra and treetops and sand
The fires of freedom’s victory have been fanned

From the streets on our soil
To lands across the sea
On freedom’s wings we will ride
For the whole world to see
The strength, the power, of liberty

And the eagle still flies
Under star spangled skies
And we still trust in God
But we won’t spare the rod
And we still say the pledge
Faith and courage give us the edge

And the eagle will soar
‘Cause we’re free evermore
From the hills to the shore
Yes! We’re free evermore

The eagle still flies
Under star spangled skies
And our hope never dies
‘Cause the eagle still flies
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Modern Day Psalms: Available at all online book retailers!