Recently I watched this video and I'm not going to lie, I laughed until I cried. Five times in a row. Watch it now. Trust me.
But as I was thinking (and still giggling) about poor, awkward Mr. Cymbals I started doing some thinking. Thinking about the general lack of patriotism and respect we see around us. Parents and kids laughing their way through the, often times painfully rendered, National Anthem at Little League games. Patrons at sporting events who can't be bothered to stop moving to their seat or remove their hats. Pop stars and their butchering of the lyrics...Christina Aguilera, you know I love you but... really?? Then I started feeling a little differently about Mr. Cymbals. Started to respect, even admire him a little.
I'll never forget in ninth grade social studies when my teacher, Mr. Beeby, decided a lesson in patriotism was in order. He was the announcer for the high school basketball games and he noticed that a few students in our class had been less than respectful during the National Anthem. He opened the dividing wall between two classrooms and blared Whitney Houston's version of "The National Anthem" until every one of the 60 students stood respectfully, hand over heart.
It was my first real inclination that not everyone had the same level of patriotism I did. Me, the military child. I shivered on the pool deck during evening colors. Twilight tattoos were considered a night of fun. I knew that holding Daddy's hand wasn't allowed if he was in uniform. Always stand on the left so his right hand side is free for salutes. And never, ever, speak or move during the National Anthem.
So, while I'll continue to laugh at my friend Mr. Cymbals, I'll also give credit where it's due. No matter how awkward, respect for the flag is worth noting. And appreciating.