To the Editor,

I am not sure if people really understand what patriotism is anymore. As I watched fireworks at two different town displays over this past week, I saw a gauntlet of politicians out shaking hands and giving out a miriad of gadgets with their names on it. There were hundreds and thousands of people who came to these events to celebrate our country’s birthday. I heard speeches and closing remarks of “God bless America.” I thought all of this was wonderful to see so many people truly celebrating such a patriotic event.

Then the fireworks displays commenced, and the crowds grew quiet while watching spectacular shows. And at each event, the organizers played a selection of patriotic music while the fireworks lit up the sky. Both towns played the National Anthem during their fireworks show, and both times myself and my family were the only ones within my range of vision that were standing while our National Anthem played. How could this be? Surely people would not be so rude and disrespectful as to remain seated.  It made me angry to be at what should be one of the most patriotic of events and to have so many people disrespect the National Anthem. But, as I said, do people really understand the proper protocol anymore? For those of us who have served in the military, that Anthem means something to us.

No matter when it is played, you stand, at attention, and give the proper respect that it is due. So if the general public doesn’t understand this, I surely hope that the organizers of these events would help to inform them of proper protocol. Maybe, pick a different song to be played during the actual fireworks show.


Susan Branam

Deputy Director

Veterans Service Agency of Rockland

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