2016-2017 National Americanism Ambassador
Respect for the Flag at Youth Sporting Events
In the National Program book I stated, “I would like to have people understand that at a sporting event when the National Anthem is played that it is not the time to go to concessions or to have a conversation with the person next to you. If I could make things the way I think they should be, every athlete at every level would stand with their hand over their heart when the anthem is played. They would remove hats, helmets, whatever headgear they might be wearing. Young people idolize athletes. I wish I could start a movement by having athletes exhibit patriotism by honoring the Flag so their young fans would emulate them.”
Some professional athletes have recently refused to stand for the National Anthem and this topic is now in the national news. It’s so important for Auxiliaries to reach out to schools and youth sports coaches to teach America’s youth to have proper respect for our nation’s Flag during sporting events. Several new resources are available on the Program & Publicity Resources page of the National Organization’s website under “Americanism”:
- A letter stating what we, as an organization, believe about respecting the Flag during the National Anthem. It includes an offer for an Auxiliary member to share with the school and/or sports team the proper Flag etiquette.
- This would be a great opportunity to invite a member of your Post to come with you. Who better than a veteran to explain to our youth how important honoring our Flag should be?
- Fillable certificates of appreciation you may award those who are making an effort to have their students and/or youth athletes show proper respect for the Flag. (There are three to choose from.)
If we begin educating youth as they go through their local school athletic programs and other youth sports programs, they will take the lessons they have learned with them on to college and perhaps someday to a professional level.
I personally believe this is the start of a great program! I am very excited to get it started and watch it grow throughout the country!
Switching gears, please remember to celebrate and commemorate September’s patriotic holidays.
Patriot Day – Sunday, September 11
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Patriot Day, also known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, occurs on September 11 each year in memory of those killed during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Those we lost September 11, 2001 will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts in the history of our nation. By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), Congress authorized the President to designate September 11 each year as “Patriot Day” to perpetuate the memory of those who perished in the attack on America, and to pursue peace and justice in the world and security at home. Appropriate ceremonies and activities include a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. EDT, remembrance services and candlelight vigils. Flags should be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day.
POW/MIA Recognition Day – Friday, September 16
POW/MIA Recognition Day honors the commitments and the sacrifices made by our nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of the six days specified by law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations. Plan ahead and check with your local facilities to make sure they have a POW/MIA flag and, if not, it would be a great time to make a formal presentation of the flag to the facility.
Gold Star Mother’s/Family’s Day – Sunday, September 25
Gold Star Mother’s/Family’s Day honors mothers and families who have lost a service member in combat. The name comes from the custom of families hanging Service Flags in the window of their homes. The Service Flag has a star for each family member in the armed forces:
- A blue star represents a family member in active service
- A silver star represents a family member wounded or injured in a war zone
- A gold star represents a family member killed during active-duty and stands for sacrifice made for honor and freedom.
The American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was founded shortly after World War I by Grace Darling Seibold, who lost her son, George Vaughn Seibold, during the war. Gold Star Mothers are often socially active, but are non-political. Gold Star Mother’s Day was designated by Congress on June 23, 1936. In September 2012, President Barack Obama rededicated the last Sunday in September as “Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.”
You can download the complete list of all our nation’s patriotic holidays from the National Auxiliary website by clicking Patriotic Holidays.