Letter to editor - Come, sing with me at school events!
To the Editor: I am a bit embarrassed to say that after living in Cloquet since 1984, I attended my first Cloquet High School football game Friday, Sept. 25. What brought me there was my son's performance in the pep band. We've supported our chil...
To the Editor:
I am a bit embarrassed to say that after living in Cloquet since 1984, I attended my first Cloquet High School football game Friday, Sept. 25. What brought me there was my son's performance in the pep band. We've supported our children and attended their curricular and extra-curricular activities. None of our sons played football on an organized team.
It was exciting to be at Bromberg Field: the tailgate party complete with B&B burgers and brats, the fans young and not so young, the pep band sporting their jerseys of white, purple and yellow, the cheerleaders, the dance line, the majorettes all in their colorful uniforms, and all the football players spread across the field in their bright purple jerseys stretching their muscles and readying themselves for the competition they were about to encounter. When the band played their first number, my former trumpet embouchure responded. I played in many recitals, concerts, parades and pep band performances in high school and college. I was in the moment!
When the announcer welcomed all to the game my first reaction was "Wow, what a great PA system." My memories of football games do not include audible announcing from the "box." As the players' names were announced, I was delighted to say that I knew several of the young men. I was ready to play my part at a Cloquet football fan.
The next experience is the reason I've decided to write this letter. We all stood for our United States national anthem, facing the American flag. The drum roll began. Mr. Tony Jirschele, the band director, waited until all of the football players were on the sideline at attention before he gave the preparatory beats. It was a moment of anticipation and pride. And we began. I sang, "Oh, say can you see?" "Oh good," I thought, "they are playing in the key of A flat and not B flat," which is a more difficult key because of the range. Immediately I realized that WE were not singing. Isn't this OUR nation's anthem? My friends who accompanied me to the game joined in singing, meekly, but they sang. Throughout the anthem people turned and scanned the crowd, as if saying, "Who is that singing?"
This experience is not unique. When my oldest son returned from his second tour in Iraq, we attended the homecoming in a hangar on the Fort riley Army Base in Kansas. Before we were able to hug our soldiers, we had to go through formalities which included the singing of our national anthem. I admit that my emotions were running very high that night and I sang with thanksgiving and pride. But sadly, again, it was somewhat of a solo.
Is this the accepted trend? And if it is, what are we going to do about it? Or maybe our society thinks it's OK to just listen to the band or soloist sing. Are we/they thinking that the anthem isn't really ours/theirs? Maybe we don't know the words. Whatever the reason, it saddens me. We have so much to be thankful for in this country. We should be singing the national anthem.
The game was exciting. It was thrilling to be there in spite of the rain. I plan to attend whenever my schedule allows and will continue to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" with pride and thanksgiving. I hope that I can inspire some of you to join me in singing.
Regina M. Roemhildt, Cloquet