Two years ago, Peter Pinette wrote a Maine Compass commentary about the national anthem (“Maine Compass: We should all respect our anthem,” Sept. 9. 2017).

The gist of this article was to question 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 at this time (thereby showing disrespect) is to be considered inappropriate or reprehensible.  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 and facing the flag is the most appropriate response during the playing of the national anthem. But also, everyone singing along with the music used to be equally important as part of this respect package.  Additional parts used to be men taking their hats off and everyone placing their right hands over their hearts (or military personnel in uniform saluting) 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 70 percent of the people do not place their hands over their hearts, more than 50 percent of the people do not sing, and many people do not even 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 ongoing, extremely tenuous and difficult times, the United States of America can use all the prayers it can get.


Bill Harmon


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