Chaplain Jim Higgins,
LSA Anaconda, Balad Air Port, North of Baghdad, Iraq.
For those who are unaware, at a military theater, the National Anthem is played before the movie. This was sent to me, from another Chaplin in Iraq.
I recently attended a showing of “Superman 3”, here at the LSA Anaconda. We have a large Auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through the National Anthem the music stopped.
Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000, 18 to 20 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and call for the movie. Of course, that is, if they stood for the National Anthem in the first place.
Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped.
What would you expect to happen? Even here, I would imagine laughter, and that everyone would finally sit down and expect the movie to start. But here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier continued to stand at attention.
Suddenly, there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand Soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: “And the Rocket’s red Glare, The Bombs bursting in Air, Gave proof though the Night, that our Flag was still There. Oh say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet Wave, O’er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave”.
It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq! I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here. Pass this along as a reminder to others, to be ever in prayer for all our Soldiers serving us here, at home and abroad. For many have already paid the ultimate price.