“The Star Spangled Banner” – Francis Scott Key

Our national anthem; I hope that every american citizen has heard it and knows, at least part of it, by heart.

The Star Spangled Banner has been a big part of my life. Partially because I was in band and choir all through school and mostly because I’ve competed in rodeos my whole life.  Growing up it was rare to go to a rodeo and not here it started by the national anthem and a prayer. Thankfully this tradition has carried through to today.

Growing up children my age were taught to “stand and remove cover” or stand, take your hats off and place a your right hand over your heart.  Both as a spectator and as a competitor. Although, as I got older I noticed some things changing.  More often than not competitors around the arena will stop what they are doing to face the arena, men would remove their hats and women would place their hands over their hearts. It’s strange to me how some people respond to the singing and others don’t.

I believe wholeheartedly that it s disrespectful not to stand for the national anthem!

1495504_10205725704159981_5458156120953471037_nSeveral times in my life I have been honored to be able to carry the American flag in parades and grand entries and a few times I’ve even attempted to sing the National Anthem. I am far more comfortable carrying the flag than I am singing however!!

It always makes me sad to see kids and even adults not respecting our countries flag the way it deserves.  Men and women have sacrificed everything for us to fly such an amazing flag and live under its freedoms.

When did we stop teaching kids to stand in the presence of our nations flag? When did we stop teaching them to place their hands over their hearts and keep quite for the singing of The Star Spangled Banner?

One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had yet in Texas was the grand entry and national anthem at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in Fort Worth this past February.  While the flag girl carried the American flag in and around the arena each section stood in a wave while her and her horse circled the arena and then when everyone was standing they proceeded to the National Anthem.  It was one of those moments that gave me chills. As well it should.

The video I included in this post is one of my favorite National Anthem performances of all time. Reba McEntire performed the National Anthem at the ’74 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City.  It’s my favorite for two reasons: 1) She was so young and she sang it the way it is supposed to be sung without adding in her own “changes” and 2) Reba was discovered after singing this and what a great way to start a career!

In short all I ask is this; if you or your family go to a parade, rodeo, concert, fireworks show or backyard barbecue please remember to show our flag, our anthem, our country and those who have fought for it all the respect they deserve.

Happy Fourth of July!!!!

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