Whitesburg KY

Pay respect to our flag

In 1972, after 27 years of dedicated service, I retired from the United States Air Force.

My kids pretty much grew up in a military environment. They spent their school years attending Department of Defense schools stateside and overseas at the bases I served on. We always lived in militaryprovided housing wherever I was stationed.

Granted, things were different then, but one thing that has remained constant is the playing of the National Anthem on military installations to signal the end of the duty day.

My kids, whenever the National Anthem would play, I would tell them to, “Stand still, place your hand over your heart, and pay respect to the flag. It’s important.”

Our military were dying in Vietnam every day under the banner of Old Glory, and that was reason enough.

We were not alone in our actions. As if on cue, all the other kids and their parents would stop and do the exact same thing — pay respect to the flag.

I can still recall several occasions after having paid due respect to the flag, someone would yell out their car window and say, “Good job, kid.”

I was always very proud of my kids.

Later in my career it became quite commonplace for airmen to take off running for cover whenever they heard the National Anthem starting to play. That upset me very much. They did not do that around me.

My men and I chose to stand still. We chose to salute the flag. We chose not to let the masses dictate our actions.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Ca.

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