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I stand because I have hope

There has been so much talk and division about whether or not to stand for our national anthem.  I've had a lot of time to think about it and decided to finally weigh in with my opinion.

As a child I learned to stand and put my right hand over my heart for the playing of the national anthem.  I didn't ever really learn why.  But, as I've grown, matured, and become a part of the armed services as a military spouse, I've heard the playing of the national anthem more times than most people - and I've learned why I stand for the anthem.

Every weekday afternoon, living on an Air Force base, I hear the playing of the Star Spangled Banner over the base's loud speaker.  If I am driving my car, I pull over and wait.  If I am outside watching my children play, we all stop, turn towards where we know the flag is flying, place our hand over our heart, and listen - not moving.  We don't do this because it's required, but because of the respect that we have for our country and for the members of our armed services who have served, are serving and will serve our country to keep the freedoms which we value so deeply.

But, just to honor our armed forces, isn't the full reason that I stand for our anthem.  We are not a perfect country.  We have a lot of problems.  Children go hungry.  Homelessness is everywhere.  There is violence in every sized city and town.  There are so many forms of hatred being expressed throughout our country - whether it be against race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual preferences, profession, wealth (or lack thereof), physical attributes, disabilities, and so much more.  In the past month, I've read too many stories of shootings, stabbings, bombings, bullying, assault, rape, trafficking, and so many other atrocities that make me sad and angry.  But, I don't sit down because I want changes to be made.  No.  I stand because I have hope that there are other good people out there who are working towards making a difference. 

Just this past week, I heard an amazing statement: Hope comes from a place of discontentment.  Think about it.  I want to be a part of the hope I have for a better nation.  I don't want to sit down to make a statement.  I want to stand to be a part of the action. 

I stand for the national anthem because I have hope in my country and the people living here who want to make it a better place to live.  We've come so far from where we started, but we still have a long way to go, and I will continue to take part in the change.  I will continue to teach my kids that this country isn't perfect, but we need people to have hope that we can continue to press on and make improvements.

I  stand because I have hope.


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