disgraceful Star Spangled Banner

I was at the Green Bay Holiday Dance Classic today at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Green Bay. I was there to watch the West De Pere Pom & Dance team, where my youngest daughter dances and my oldest daughter coaches.

The event began with the national anthem. The announcer had intended to play it over the P.A. system, but had some kind of problem. So he simply said, “why don’t we all sing the national anthem?” So we did.

Now, first, I don’t understand why this was so much of a shock. Everyone in attendance should have expected to sing the national anthem anyway. So the announcer got us started, and the crowd continued singing. What happened next was absolutely disgraceful.

Dancers all over the arena started singing in goofy voices, laughing and giggling throughout the entire song. The dancers sitting right behind us even sang the wrong words! Really. It was like it was one big joke. There was one dance team, wearing red and black pom uniforms with a diagonal white stripe across the front, who were the most disrespectful. They all sat together as a team, across the arena from us, and they were having fun, jumping around, laughing and singing in a mocking manner. I don’t know what school they were from, but they don’t deserve their freedom to dance. (I’ll be at more competitions this year, and when I see that uniform, I’ll know who they were and I’ll add a comment to this post.)

Everyone heard it. Everyone saw it. It was horrible. What’s worse is that not many other people there seemed to be as surprised or disgusted as I was. I tweeted about it, and another dad there did the same. But the event went on as if nothing happened.

I fully expect that the officials of this dance competition will be in contact with the dance team coaches about the incident. Someone needs to teach these young women a small lesson about respect and sacrifice. And if the officials of the Green Bay Holiday Dance Classic don’t care, then they should be ashamed of themselves.

Comments 2

  • that’s very unfortunate.

  • I was very disappointed, too, Scott…but not altogether surprised. Go to a high school event here in De Pere where the National Anthem is played, and you’ll see that most of the students, teachers, and audience don’t give proper respect to the flag during the Anthem.

    According to US Code, here’s how we’re all supposed to act ( from http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html#170 ):

    “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”

    Somewhere along the line, we stopped teaching what’s proper to our kids and each other.

    All it would take is for the announcer at each event to ask the audience to face the flag, remove their hats, place their hand on their hearts and either sing along or observe in silence. Instead, most times I see high school sports players just standing there, sometimes talking to each other. Normally I’m focused on the flag when I attend. But at one recent event I looked at the teachers attending and saw only two of them out of 15 placing their hands on their hearts. Then I glanced at the audience. At least 3/4 of them were talking to each other or standing there. These are the same people who made a run on flags in the weeks following Sept. 11, 2001. Guess the unbridled patriotism didn’t last long.

    It’s time to make things right. If parents aren’t going to do it, perhaps our schools can take 15 seconds at each event and remind folks what’s important.