Super Bowl Sunday...empty churches and friends gathered around the TV. Way to go America! (Actually we had a good crowd at our church today - thanks FBC/NBCC for caring more about God than a bunch of large men in their distinctively colored costumes.)
We're not big football fans, so we decided to go home after church, have lunch, get some rest, and go grocery shopping after the big game started. (It's not just churches that see a decline in attendance on the afternoon of SB forty whatever it is. What I like best about the big game is nobody in line for the cash registers.)
I'm not interested in football, my wife is not interested in football, but somehow we managed to create a monster: a teenager that DOES like football. (Patriots, if you care, but since they're not playing this year, he likes the Packers: Go Pack!)
He had the TV on when I went to tell him we were leaving. The National Anthem was being sung. And I was disappointed. I'm used to protocol when the Star Spangled Banner is sung. The announcer asks the audience to stand, sometimes he even tell you to take off your hat and put your hand over your heart. People know that they are supposed to stand still, face the flag, and show respect. Less than two minutes and then they can get on with the ball game.
Whoever was working the cameras had a great opportunity to show that Americans are proud of their country, of their flag, and that even in rough economic times that we have some respect. They did show, briefly, a military unit, ready for the game, watching from their station in Afghanistan. But where were the people standing at attention, standing still, hands over their hearts, facing the flag?
I saw a bunch of people dancing around, mugging it up for the cameras, showing a total lack of resepct. And I'm disappointed with the media for giving the clowns face time. A lot of people around the world watch the Super Bowl, and what they learn is that we don't have to show respect, for our flag, our country, even ourselves.
Sure we can blame it on the less than stellar rendition of the National Anthem. Someone posted that people lost their poise as they tried to figure out what was being sung; but the tune is disctinctive and most of us don't know all the words anyway, so that's probably not the case.
There are airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines stationed at places far from home today, stationed all around the world, who are risking their lives to keep our country free. Saluting the flag, standing for the Anthem, saying the pledge of allegiance are little ways that we can tell them how much we appreciate their efforts.
America, it may not be perfect, but it's what we have. It's up to us to make it better. And showing respect is a good place to start.
Do you stand for the National Anthem?