With all of the dialogue across America concerning the NFL protests, kneeling for "The Star Spangled Banner" and the multiple accusations, I wanted to give a "hats off," literally, to the youth, parents and fans after the state girls 5A soccer playoffs Friday evening. At the conclusion of an intense, well-fought playoff between two high schools from the same region, a little magic happened. As several thousand fans were mingling and leaving, an unannounced singing of the national anthem was begun by a young lady with an amazing voice: evidently, a sound check preparation for the beginning of the Monarchs' playoff game to start an hour later.
The unusual happening at the "end of a game" caught people off guard, but within moments several thousand fans from Timpanogos and Maple Mountain High Schools stood at attention, hats off, hands on their chests facing the unlit flag. As a Vietnam vet, it was an emotional moment. In my day, whenever the anthem was played, especially on a military base, and you heard the music, you exited your car or stopped walking and faced the flag location while saluting. The same thing also happened on the BYU campus during the '70s. That was during a time that being in the military for me was not always positive, because of the war.
As I looked across all the standing fans, I noticed the Maple Mountain team and coaches surrounded by TV cameras in the excitement of victory pausing, hands on their hearts at attention. The stadium silence, but for the words and music of the anthem, was electrifying. I'm proud of the young people who will take my place in the future. There is hope for America.
It would seem that the "kneeling" athlete or the professional teams could share their money and influence by joining with local law enforcement community initiatives or by helping develop youth or school programs to challenge the problems rather than kneel during the anthem. There have got to be better ways of making a difference.