On the national anthem and why we serve



Commentary by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


11/10/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al  -- I'm rarely on base at 5 p.m. When I am, I usually need to remind myself to roll down the windows in my car so I can hear the national anthem and stop.

The other day I had just put my cart in the corral outside the commissary when I heard music over the loudspeaker. I stood respectfully, with my hand over my heart, along with a dozen or so other customers. It's one of those moments unique to American military installations, reminding us to be proud Americans.

On this particular evening, many thoughts went through my mind.

The anthem reminds me of movies at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's theaters and the many films I saw while stationed in Germany for five years. AAFES shows a patriotic montage during the national anthem before each film.

At first this was strange, but it eventually became custom. I appreciated the reminder we are part of the military family and the respect shown to our nation. Now at nonmilitary theaters, I have to stop myself from standing when the lights are dimmed.
Mostly I thought about many friends of mine who are overseas. Several of my husband's co-workers from the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School are deployed, as are some of our friends from previous assignments.

I said a quick prayer for their safety and the comfort of their families, especially with the holidays coming up.

As the music ended, someone nearby said, "Play ball." That definitely brought a smile to my face, since I always think that, too, at the end of the national anthem.
Thanks, Maxwell, for reminding me why I serve those who serve.