It just keeps ringing in my aching heart. While attending AKC dog shows, or even watching televised events over the past few years, I have noticed many owners, handlers and onlookers not honoring the American flag, or even taking the time to stand still and respect those who do during our national anthem. The respectful posture would be to stand proudly with your right hand over your heart, facing the American flag whenever one is on display.

Singing or playing the national anthem literally takes less than two minutes, even when those celebrities sing it at the Super Bowl. We only sing one verse of the national anthem. It isn’t asking too much to expect everyone at a dog show to stand respectfully for one minute and 44 seconds as an expression of pride and gratitude to be an American. After all, those winning the final red, white and blue rosette wear or display it with pride. If not for our freedom, most of us couldn’t even attend a dog show. Come on, can’t we give those few moments of time to respect our great country?

The U.S. Code specifies four circumstances when the hand-over-heart salute is appropriate:

  • • When the U.S. flag is raised or lowered;
  • • When the U.S. flag is carried past in a review or parade;
  • • When reciting the pledge of allegiance; and
  • • When the national anthem is played.

One should face the flag in all cases. If the flag is not displayed during the playing of the national anthem, the saluter should face the source of the music.

According to Wikipedia, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution, signed by President Herbert Hoover, on March 3, 1931. The lyrics came from a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer Frances Scott Key after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Chesapeake Bay by the British Royal Navy ships during the War of 1812. The poem was later set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith.

Perhaps a review of the lyrics will help inspire everyone at dog shows to participate the next they they hear our national anthem. Here they are:

“The Star-Spangled Banner”
Lyrics by Frances Scott Key, 1814

Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
Tis the star-spangled banner! O, long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood was washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph does wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!