The National Anthem has been in the news this fall ... across the nation when players have demonstrated discontent during its playing at sporting events ... in Michigan over administrators' decisions about how frequently it was played when multiple sporting events were at the same venue on the same day or night.
Frankly, my biggest complaint is not about peaceful demonstrations of deeply felt feelings. And my complaint is not about game management determinations to have the National Anthem played or performed just once when there is a JV and varsity double-header at a site.
In fact, I welcome those debates, because at least it causes people to think. For my biggest complaint for many years has been the lack of thought that goes into most occasions when the National Anthem is a part of sporting events. How casual we often are. The National Anthem is so frequent and routine at most high school events that, sometimes, spectators barely notice.
I don't mind that most spectators don't sing the National Anthem – it's an almost un-singable song. And the words – glorifying war – are hardly what I'd like recited at sporting events, which too often are stupidly equated with war.
What I do mind is forgetfulness, both of the sacrifices that have secured this free country and of the toleration for freedom of expression that our secured freedom protects.