No. 1122



Former President Calvin Coolidge once said of patriotism, “It is looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.” While I don’t always agree with our nation’s leaders and what they advocate or stand for, I am nevertheless patriotic, and when called on will defend our nation against all enemies both foreign and domestic. A friend sent me something a while back that stirred my patriotic feelings and gave me a deep sense of pride for our nation’s military forces and those who put their lives on the line for us every single day.
What my friend Joe Lehmann sent me was something written by Chaplain Jim Higgins, who was stationed at the LSA Anaconda, located at the Ballad Airport in Iraq, north of Baghdad. One of the things he shared that I did not know is that the National Anthem is played at all military base theaters before a movie begins.
Jim reports, “I recently attended a showing of ‘Superman 3’ here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium that we use for movies as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom at all military bases, we stood to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going well until three-quarters of the way through the National Anthem, the music stopped. Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18- to 22-year-olds back in the states? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and yell for the movie to begin. Of course, that is, only if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.
“Here in Iraq, 1,000 soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again, and the soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. Again, though, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect 1,000 soldiers standing at attention to do? Frankly, I expected some laughter, and everyone would eventually sit down and wait for the movie to start. No! You could have heard a pin drop while every soldier continued to stand at attention.
“Suddenly, there was a lone voice from the front of the auditorium, then a dozen voices, and soon the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: ‘And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave’.
“It was the most inspiring moment that I have had in Iraq, and I wanted you to know what kind of U.S. Soldiers are serving you! Remember them as they fight for us. Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here, and at home and all over the world. Many have already paid the ultimate price.”
Well, I can only say, thank you Chaplain Jim Higgins for sharing this. I feel privileged to be able to pass it on. I suspect that most Americans, like myself, have never thought about this before, and it is very inspiring to be reminded of the thousands of young men and women all across the globe who are serving in our military services. I have an honorable discharge for serving eight years in the National Guard and several months of active duty when President Dwight Eisenhower federalized us during the 1957 Little Rock Central School integration crisis.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)