National Anthems and Such

by Quendi 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Quendi

    Well, football season (gridiron for all you Commwealth-types) will be here soon and Yours Truly plans to attend a few games. I'll also be going to quite a few basketball games when that season starts in November. In the U.S., the national anthem is played before the start of such events. I think it is a stupid, unnecessary, and ridiculous exercise because the crowd has assembled to watch an athletic contest and not take part in a political event, but it is the custom nevertheless. When the colors are presented and the anthem is played, the crowd is asked to "rise and honor America". Most people do so and sing the anthem when the music is played.

    When I was a Witness, I always made sure I wasn't in my seat when the flag and anthem were presented. I'd go to the restroom or visit a concession stand. Now my Witness days are behind me and I have been thinking about what to do when I am in this situation again. I have decided that I will rise out of respect when asked to do so. I can understand the reason for this request. My father served honorably for 20 years in the U.S. Army. I appreciated his service to the country which included tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam, and the service of all the men and women in the armed forces. However, I will not salute any nation's flag or sing its anthem. I draw the line there. For me, my first loyalty is to God's kingdom. Furthermore, I firmly believe that nationalism, patriotism, and Christianity do not make a good mix.

    Those views arise from my years as a Witness, but this is one of the few points I still agree with them about. Of course, Witnesses are also told that standing for the presentation of the colors and the playing of the anthem is an act of idolatry. I strongly disagree with them on that. What is the difference between standing for the flag and playing of a national anthem and standing in a courtroom when a judge enters and takes his or her seat on the bench? In both cases, an individual is asked to show honor and respect to the nation, its emblems and anthem, and its officers. My conscience is clear in that respect. Furthermore, I think this is in line with Paul's inspired words at Romans 13:7.

    I'd be interested in the views of others on this issue. I expect that there will be a diversity of opinions which I welcome. I hope that we can have a good exchange of views, and I look forward to everyone's comments.


  • Quandry

    I have decided that I will rise out of respect when asked to do so.

    I think that is a good idea.

    I didn't salute the flag for over thirty years. My dad was a Marine for over twenty years, serving in WWII and Korea. While I was "in" I began to become more educated as to the facts about WWII. I imagined the faces of the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps as they were liberated by Americans. Also, the GIs marching into France as it was liberated, how they were hailed.

    I began to feel that I wanted to tell my father how proud of him I was. Of course, being in the "truth" kept me from expressing this sentiment. When I saw the flag, I felt a pride in accomplishment for the country.

    My dad is dead now, and I am out. I never told him that I was proud of him before he died. I have to live with that, but I can show appreciation for his (and others') years of sacrifice by participating fully in the flag salute, and standing for our nation's anthem.

  • St George of England
    St George of England

    At my graduation I had to sit down when they played the National Anthem, utterly embarrassing.

    Since then the WTS has changed its stance on that issue also, if you are already standing you do not need to sit and I think since then it has become more of a conscience issue.

    I never did understand the difference between standing for the judge in court and standing for the NA.


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I rose at school b/c no other Witness kid was present. We sang patriotic songs in the assembly every morning. They were very moving when JFK was assassinated and earlier during the Cuban Missle Crisis.

    I always felt awkard about nonschool events. Never when my father was present. He would go places he knew damn well there would be such a display , such as Yankee games or PTA, and then leave in a huff. We were enjoying the planetarium, which was not cheap, as a family when the announcer referenced evolution. Goodbye, plantetarium.

    So I was always torn. Finally, I worked for the U.S. Senate at the very heart of the beast. I left the Witnesses many years before but I still felt a tad uncomfortable. I could not come up for a reason for not doing it. If you ask your Senator or Congressperson, you can buy a US flag at cost that has flown over the capitol. I ordered one and shocked myself.

    September 11th made me realize I was truly American. Crazed, amoral men wanted to kill ME just b/c I was American. As I've explained, I lived in downtown Manhattan for about forty years. Since the area is so small, the emotional attachment is great. I sought out places to stand and salute. Two weeks after Ground Zero, I was passing by Bellevue to a doctor's appointment next door. All the traffic lights changed. A military and police escort accompanied a body to the medical examiner's office next to Bellevue. We all stood at attention. Casual bystanders with no protocol. I led the salute to the fire truck with the body and the escort. So I have come very far.

    I don't like flag waving but these are my values. The basic, enduring American values, not a politcal convention flag waving of non substance. In some ways, it may be perverse to salute a Yankee's game. I like standing up and declaring that I share these values with others. On the other hand, I've read many times that we are the only country to glorify our flag. It reminds me of the Star Trek episode with Captain Kirk and the descedants of the Communist Chinese when he booms out the sacred words "I pledge allegiance .......It depends on the venue.

    Being born-in, it is a wonder when it happens.

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