From Left Field

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By The Staff

Oh say can you...

I’ve witnessed a many Star Spangled Banner in my time. Whenever I attend a game, I’m still amazed at the number of people who do not know or show proper etiquette during the national anthem.

I feel it is time to address this problem and nip it in the bud as Barney Fife would say.

According to www.usflag.org, here is the proper way to behave during the national anthem:

“When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.”

Showing respect to the flag doesn’t mean talking or texting on your cell phone, chewing gum, laughing at the person struggling to sing the anthem (I’ll address that a little later), or standing with your arms to your sides. In some cases, certain people shouldn’t even be allowed to sing along. I’ve heard some people in the bleachers who make William Hung sound like Pavarotti.

When it comes to who performs the national anthem, I tend to waiver back and forth between a recording and a live singer. Recordings are fine if you can get one that is relatively timed and doesn’t make you stand through an extra three minutes of vocal flourishes and high notes that make your eardrums pop.

Live singers are fine if they know what key is right for them. As a former musician myself, I can usually tell within the first three notes if the singer started in a higher key than what they can handle. I know they’re nervous and are hoping to remember the lyrics and get them in the right order. I think we’ve all seen the footage of former Olympic track star Carl Lewis squeaking his way through the national anthem years ago. When you sing the Star Spangled Banner, all eyes and ears are on you, and it’s probably the biggest trial by fire for any singer.

I’m just happy if the anthem is over in a descent time. Have you ever felt your knees start to buckle sometime around “gave proof through the night?”

At least my hand will still be over my heart when I hit the floor with a thud.