When the Music Stopped
For those who are unaware: Since before the 1960s, at all military base theaters all over the world, the National Anthem is played before a movie begins:
I recently attended a showing of “Superman 3” here at LSA Ananconda. We have a large auditorium that is used for movies as well as memorial services and other large gathering.
As is the custom at all military bases, we stood at attention when the National Anthem began before the movie began.
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 that 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, these 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 whole room was filled with 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 I have had in Iraq, and I wanted you to know what kind of U.S. Soldiers are serving you/us. Remember them as they fight for us
Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins, LSA Anaconda at the Ballad Airport in Iraq, north of Baghdad.
National Anthem performed by Luke Bryan