Young Patriots

Last week I witnessed the most incredible thing and I’m convinced patriotism is alive and well. A national anthem is a unification call and a expression of belonging to something special.

As a semi-retired person with much time on my hands, I maintain a stay busy job during winter months where I substitute teach K-12 classes in a local public school district. While doing this last week, I was assisting a library specialist instruct a group of teenagers with the use of an on-line research application. Actually, I was functioning in the role of disciplinarian and order while the instruction occurred. I’m not sure why but I seem to gravitate to that call. Go figure; but that is a bit off subject today.

The students were instructed in the use of a world countries search engine which included the details of every recognized county on our amazing planet. Flags, population, demographic, language, topography, every detail was available with a few clicks of a mouse. Also, of particular interest to this tale is the fact that the national anthem’s of each country is posted and the students learned to access these. As an example the anthem of Russia was partially played. It reminded me of the Olympic Games and of old spy movies and the students seemed intrigued by it’s bold instruments and tempo.

Following this instruction, the students were given a few minutes to explore on their own and they did so following their own individual interest. Toward the end of this time one of the students opened the National Anthem of the United State of America and the Star Spangled Banner played. About half through the playing the instructor attempted to call attention back to her. All complied and were silenced except one; the Star Spangled Banner. I’m not sure why but the student refused to stop the music midway and chose to continue. I guess you just don’t stop that song once it has begun. At this all of the students and staff stopped, sat, and listened intently.

Along with the instrument rendition I heard in my mind the words; “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 strangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

A very good question indeed during these supposed confused times, media driven disinformation, protest riddled, flag burning frenzy type of days. But to my astonishment today, the answer came soon and it was clear.

You see at the songs conclusion one student spontaneously started to clap her hands and was immediately joined by the remaining students. These were students of several back grounds, interests, races, and of both genders all clapping and smiling at one another in a knowing and unified answer.

What pride and comfort I felt in my heart and I too began clapping my hands, smiling and watching the smiles of dedicated young citizens confirm. Yes, yes indeed; That Star Spangled Banner still waves for the land of the free and the home of the brave…

It was a wonderful experience and I have since thought much about who was teaching in that moment.

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