Posts Tagged ‘unity’

Star_Spangled_Banner_Flag_on_display_at_the_Smithsonian's_National_Museum_of_History_and_Technology,_around_1964One evening, while walking down the midway at our recent county fair, I stopped when I heard the start of  “The Star Spangled Banner”.  People around me also stopped and stood quietly, some with their hands over their heart.  Another night, when I happened to be in our OSU Extension booth talking with two FFA members, it started to play, and without saying a word we put our hands over our hearts and listened.  The gentleman in in the booth next to me, after realizing what was happening, stood quickly and took his hat off.

As this nightly occurrence of hearing the national anthem continued on throughout the week, I started to realize how much of an impact it was having on me, and what was going through my mind while it played.  The germination of an idea about writing a blog article on the topic started to form, and I decided to ask other fair-goers if they stopped during the playing of our national anthem.  If so, why, and what were they thinking (if anything), while it played?

Everyone I interviewed at the fair that week reported they stopped what they were doing and listened to the national anthem.  Below are some of their responses:

  • One of the Farm Bureau Ambassadors stated she is too young to vote or serve in the military, but this was one thing she could do to show her respect for her country.
  • One lady stated she was thinking about “the United States Daughters of 1812” an organization for descendants of patriots who aided the American cause during the War of 1812.
  • One gentleman stated what many others also shared – that he was thinking about unity, recent events in America, and those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

We celebrate many occasions in this country, such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day.  We also celebrate our country/patriotism on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Patriot’s Day (9/11), and Independence Day.  Nationally, we may not be in agreement about whether, or how, we celebrate those holidays, but the main takeaway here is that we have the freedom to choose without censure.

One constant, however, we’ve always pretty much shared is that when we hear “The Star Spangled Banner”, we Americans halt what we are doing and become united.  That response factors in to why there has been so much discord over the last year about respect (or perceived lack of) for the national anthem.

Defence_of_Fort_McHenry_(Broadside_1814)A recent study conducted by faculty at Princeton found that banding together as a nation is often lauded for getting through challenging times, but that both harmony and conflict unify nations’ identities.

“In the United States, a nation of immigrants, we have a much more complex national story to tell,” senior author Susan Fiske, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public International Affairs, says.  “Because we are pluralistic, our society requires a balancing act.  We can’t achieve unity through homogeneity, because we aren’t.”  “We can however view multi-ethnic intergroup relations in our unequal society as complicated and sometimes ambivalent.”

The Takeaway
Whether or not you agree with that assessment as it relates to the national anthem, it is important to recognize that this is a complicated issue because not everyone expresses social connectedness in the same way.  However, if you treat everyone with courtesy and respect, the only commitment you will have to make to them is behaving well (which is the Golden Rule).

View these well-known renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_lCmBvYMRs Whitney Houston
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0GFqrCcwes National youth Orchestra of the USA/NY02
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPKp29Luryc Themes & Variations


Photo Resources:
Defence of Fort McHenry, By Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) [Public domain, Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

Written by:  Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County
Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

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