Buzz Williams, the basketball coach at Virginia Tech, recently gave his team an important lesson. What he taught them was to have respect: not just for the other players or other teams, but for the National Anthem.
Like any great coach, he wasn’t going to teach them something without making them practice. So he had his team line up across from a group of U.S. Veterans while the Star Spangled Banner was played. He told them they were to stand straight and stare straight ahead with their right hand over their heart and left hand behind their backs while it was played.
He didn’t just tell them how to act when the National Anthem was played, he also told them why it was so important. He told the players how the veterans had put their education on hold and changed careers so that we could have freedom.
Several decades ago, people didn’t have to be taught this lesson because wars directly impacted more people. During World War 2, rations were in place on goods people could buy to ensure that the military had enough supplies to fight the war. During the wars in Korea and Vietnam, young men were being drafted into the military.
Our society does not feel the impact of wars as it once did. Most of us are able to go about our daily lives as if we were not at war. Another country attacking ISIS often makes more news headlines than when our military does. It may be easy for some people to forget, but our veterans are placing their lives at risk every single day for all of us. The video of his team reciting our National Anthem is now going viral. Kudos to Coach Williams for making sure that his team -and us- remember this lesson.