A recent Maine Compass by Peter Pinette questioned whether it is appropriate to only stand up and face the American flag during the playing of the national anthem at sporting events and, as a result, if kneeling down (thereby showing disrespect) at this time is to be considered inappropriate or reprehensible (“Respect our national anthem,” Sept. 9). Throughout this article, he used the word “stand” only one time as compared to “God” nine times, and “prayer” 15 times.

I will be the first to state that the tradition of standing up and facing the flag is the most appropriate response during the playing of the national anthem. Everyone singing along with the music used to be equally important. Also, men used to take off their hats off and everyone placed their hand over their heart (or military personnel saluted) throughout the performance.

I challenge everyone during their attendance at their next sporting event or even watching it on TV to watch what people are doing these days. My guess is that many men keep their hats on, more than 50 percent of the people do not place their hand over their heart, more than half of the people do not sing, and many people do not face the flag.

If some people choose to not stand, but choose instead to kneel in prayer, at least they can show their respect to our nation by at least facing in the flag’s direction (not away from or in a closed circle) with their heads bowed down in prayer. In these extremely tenuous and difficult times, the United States of America can use all the prayers it can be given.

Bill Harmon


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