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How to Conduct Yourself at the Ballgame

If you attend many ball games (football, baseball) you see all types of behavior while the flag is hoisted, and the National Anthem is played. The U.S. Flag Code addresses this in Section 9, giving specific instructions for both civilians and military personnel. Here is Section 9 in its entirety.

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.

Usually, many people seem confused, and aren’t quite sure what they are supposed to do, taking their cue from those around them. If the immediate crowd is standing quietly, hand over heart, they assume that posture. If the group is rowdy, talking loudly, and cutting up, they tend to lean to that style, not wanting to bring attention to themselves.

I’m here to assure you, that if you do the right thing, you will influence the people around you, and the proper conduct will result. One person at a time, we can make a difference in the attitude of the crowd.

And if you know the words of the National Anthem … sing them. It’s OK. I promise. You may not be Whitney Houston, but surely you’re not Roseanne Barr either.

Speaking of Whitney—here is her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner … enjoy.

You’ll notice that a few of the crowd shots include people singing with their hand over their heart, but the majority are not.

And if you’re a glutton for punishment, here is a link to Roseanne’s rendition. I just can’t bring myself to include it on The Daily Flag.

2 thoughts on “How to Conduct Yourself at the Ballgame

  1. Is the national anthem honoring the flag or the country? I’ve got it in my head that in school the Pledge required hand-over-heart, while the Anthem didn’t.

    Hmmm, now I want to hear exactly what the announcer tells us to do at the local ballpark. “Remove your hats and ???” So, yes, I am confused.

    The thing I hate is when the singer and/or band throws too much style into it and you can’t sing along, despite what, at least this (whitney video) announcer says… “to join in singing the National Anthem.” Whitney was just right.

  2. Dave, I did mix the two together without a good explanation. I located an article I wrote in February that gives a much better description about the National Anthem. There is a specific protocol described in Title 36 of the U.S. Code for conduct during the playing of the National Anthem.

    Here is a link to the February article.

    National Anthem protocol

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