Say Yes to Star-Spangled Patriotism

Sarah Philpott

Each year around 400 people come hang out in our front yard for a 4th of July celebration sponsored by my family and another local family farm sponsor. (This year there will be no such event – our third child has the due date of July 4th!)


star spangled kidsOur front pasture is cleared of the llamas, goats, and horses and we make room for vehicles. The side pasture is cleared of the cattle and we make room for my husband and his adventurous friends to shoot fireworks. Barbeque brisket is grilled, live country music is played, and our community sits around for an old-fashioned Fourth of July on the farm.


A few years ago, I decided that all the children should lead the crowd in the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner.


The kids started gathering along the fencerow and singing along to our National Anthem. It’s a proud moment for us patriotic moms in attendance and sappy me often wipes tears from my eyes.


Last year, I wrote a column about instilling patriotism in our children. It was all about how we should sing with our hands over our hearts. I was prompted to write after attending a high-school graduation where half of the attendees didn’t show proper respect during the singing of the anthem.


“Who should take responsibility of teaching the younger generations the basics of patriotic etiquette?” I asked.


“The parents!” I wrote. “As parents, it is our obligation to instruct our children about the traditions of our country and train them to be patriotic Americans.”


I still stand by that statement.

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However, life is full of irony. At last year’s celebration, we invited the children to the front to sing the anthem. Whose kids were the only ones who didn’t sing with their hands over their hearts? That would be my two!


Oh, the joys of motherhood! I roll my eyes and giggle. I’ve still got some work to accomplish!


Why should we teach patriotic etiquette?

Basic patriotism, such as saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing The Star-Spangled Banner, makes us all pause and think about the brave sacrifices men and women have made throughout history to ensure our freedoms.


Why should we teach patriotic etiquette? Click To Tweet


Showing reverence is about respect.  We are showing that we not only recognize, but that we value the risks, efforts, and sacrifices that people have rendered throughout the history of the United States of America.


Freedom isn’t free and at the very least we can all stand at attention with our hands over our hearts.


Whether we are at the Little League ball field, the Super Bowl, or a high school graduation we should follow proper protocol and teach our young to do the same.


Saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing The Star-Spangled Banner are a collective display of our pride for the United States of America.  They are representations of our national identity.


We live in a democracy and in this form of government institution, every voice matters.  Standing at attention, with our voices echoing a song that was written over two-hundred years ago, is a reminder that we all have a stake in the formation and future of our country.


We can’t let our voices be silent and we can’t take half-hearted responsibility for this patriotic task of making sure that America continues to stand tall.


Each and every voice shapes our country.


We must rise to stand tall and put our hands over our hearts – and teach our young to do the same.



Personal Conduct during the playing of the National Anthem


When the flag is displayed —

A- individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;

B- members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and

C- all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and

When the flag is not displayed —

All present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

From: United States Code Title 36 


Personal Conduct for the Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: ‘I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart14. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.

From: United States Title Code 36 

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Does patriotism have a place in your family? How do you express it? There are some very simple ways.

This post was written by Sarah Philpott exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC

Sarah Philpott Ph.D lives in the southeast on a sprawling cattle farm where she raises her two mischievous children (with one on the way!) and is farm wife to her high school sweetheart. A former teacher, she now spends her days cleaning peanut butter and jelly off the counter, dreaming of traveling the world, hosting “get-togethers” for her family and friends, and chasing her kids around the farm. Sarah is represented by The Blythe Daniel Literary Agency. You can visit with Sarah at her All-American Mom blog, where she writes about cultivating a life of down-home simplicity. She also has a passion for helping women cope with pregnancy loss.