Respect, Where has it gone?

A few nights ago I was at a local baseball game and the time came for the National Anthem. The announcer said “please rise and remove your caps for the playing of our National Anthem” as I am sure he does at every game. I had a great vantage point and was able to see everyone in the stands and low and behold right in front of me a man was standing with his cap on, beer in hand, and his other hand in his pocket. Well I had all I could do to keep my cool.

I served this country for a little more than twelve years in the United States Army as well as the Massachusetts Army National Guard. Many of my friends have deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq and one of my friends Michael Kelly was killed several years ago in Afghanistan. Now I know that people have different feelings on the war and our involvement there but can we all agree on respect?The dictionary defines respect as “to treat with propriety or consideration.” Sounds pretty plain and simple to me. The interesting this was this man was doing the very thing that we are fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are fighting for freedom and that freedom includes the right to stand, while the National Anthem is being played, with your hand on a beer and your other hand in your pocket with your cap on. One friend said to me that at least he was standing.

So what do we do? What is the answer? Respect for the flag is not the only thing that has gone astray. We have lost respect for our leaders, our parents, teacher, dare I say clergy and all of the rest. I submit that it is gone but not forgotten. We need to get it back and we need to teach people respect. But we also have to respect the right of this person to stand as he did at the ball park. Someone once said that my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins. This is sage advice I think. He has a right to stand as I have a right to be upset about it.

My nephew, until this year, went to a charter school and the teachers in this school allowed the students to call them by their first names. Now I am sorry but this is just not right. Adults should be called Mr. or Mrs. as the case may be or even sir or ma’am if we really want to get technical.

Respect begins at home and needs to be taught, praised when appropriate and corrected when necessary.

My weekly column “Shepherd of Souls” is featured in the following publications:

The Tantasqua Town Common
Quaboag Current
Ware River News


  1. It is unfortunate that many Americans show a lack of respect today — for both their fellow citizens and their country.

    I believe this problem began some 40 years ago when many parents — in an effort to be "nice" to their children — let their children say or do anything they wanted, because these parents did not want to "hurt" their children by teaching them or correcting them about respect.

    The fact is that these parents did more harm to their children than good.

  2. Lack of respect and the inability to show guilt or remorse from ones inappropriate actions towards others is spreading like cancer across the Human race.
    I'm not a religious person but can see that it must still form some purpose for the Human race as it currently stands. That is for those that cannot naturally understand what respect is and feel some guilt in themselves. They must need to have an all powerful overseeing God that will punish them if they do wrong.
    I'd like to know when we as a species will move to the next level of consciousness. When will we be able to let go of hate and fear autonomously? Are we doomed to failure? Or are we still just living in the dark ages?

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