Baseball is America's pastime and while technology has modernized it with HD scoreboards, uniforms made to be breathable, and synthetic grass, the tradition of baseball has not changed a bit.
Balls are hand stitched, Take Me Out to the Ballgame is played at the end of the top of the seventh inning, the sounds from the (or of the) organ is played through the PA system, and Cracker Jacks are always sold at any ball stadium.
With everything about baseball, the one thing locked-in with tradition is respecting our country with The Star Spangled Banner. We stop what we are doing (eating, selling food, cell phone chatting), stand-up, take off our hats, face the flag, and cheer at the end to the singers and to our country.
Why am I writing about this? Here's why:
- On Sunday, I was at the afternoon Giants game versus the Houston Astros. When it was time to honor America with the Star Spangled Banner, the couple sitting to the left of me didn't stand-up, the wife had her earphones on tuned into KNBR radio, and both were playing with their cell phones.
- I asked them, "please respect our country by standing up." The lady replied a few seconds later in a mild mannered tone: "I don't have to stand up to The National Anthem." My father elbowed me for making that statement, but he knew deep down in his soul that I was right.
- During the anthem, the couple was also busy playing with their cell phones and didn't even take off their hats.
Soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen are out there defending our country so we can have the right to free speech, press, religion, assembly, and so many others we benefit from our Constitution; the most basic level of respect is to always honor the singing of our National Anthem.
When Japanese Americans were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II for being questioned of their loyalty to our country, when it came time to call-up people for the Army to fight for our nation, thousands of Japanese American males in the camps volunteered and it created the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. They knew the best way to prove their loyalty to the United States is to fight in the war. Many sacrificed their lives in battle, including the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" (Texas National Guard). The 442nd is known throughout military history for being the most highly decorated regiment in the U.S. Armed Forces and that also includes 21 Medal of Honor recipients.
Even when Canadian baseball teams visit AT&T Park, fans are still asked to honor Canada during their singing of their National Anthem. This video example from a hockey game shows the level of respect from Boston fans to not booing the Canadian National Anthem.
To make matters worse with the disrespecting couple sitting next to me:
- Every Sunday at AT&T Park is the singing of God Bless America, and prior to Take Me Out to the Ballgame. PA Announcer Renel Brooks-Moon asks everyone to rise, take off their caps, and while not mentioned by Brooks-Moon, people are encouraged to sing along.
- The couple next to me didn't stand-up, sing, and did not take-off their cap.
- Even more insulting is when the song was completed, they stood-up and sung Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
That unpatriotic couple doesn't deserve to continue buying tickets to Giants games (not sure if they are season ticket holders). Those two demonstrated an absolute level of disrespect with their reply to me for not standing-up, and fiddling with their cell phones while The National Anthem was being sung by a group of school kids. The much older couple sitting a few seats to my right stood up for The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America and they are real loyal Giants fans with season tickets.
I ask all of you, if you go to any event where The Star Spangled Banner is played and you find people sitting down, and/or not taking-off their hats, inform them that they have a responsibility to respect the country they live in, with the freedoms that are being defended everyday by our Armed Forces.