So, I think I've mentioned before that being on base here in Okinawa is basically just like being in the states. You've got your BK & your gas by the gallon instead of the liter (litre?) and other comforts of home. The only real "you're not in Kansas (or other state) anymore" instances are:
1. driving on the "wrong" side of the road
2. being carded on the way into the commissary
3. calling the grocery store the commissary
4. standing for the National Anthem before the previews come on at the movie theater
and 5. stopping the car or standing still at 1700 while the Star Spangled Banner plays over the loud speaker.
Today I need to gripe about #5. Not the fact that the custom exists, but that so many people choose to ignore it. I will admit that I have done some extra shopping in the BX if it's nearing 5 to avoid standing outside with my bags. I will also admit that it's quite common for me to find something to busy myself with in my classroom until 5:05 rather than walking out at 4:59. I can even count on one hand the number of times that I've literally run into the house so I can be in before the anthems (Japanese and USA) begin to play. But that's usually only if I really have to go to the bathroom. So I'm not saying I'm perfectly patriotic. BUT I do think I'm patriotic enough to complain about some people who blatantly ignore the SSB at 5:00.
If it's close to 5:00 and you're in your car, windows up and radio on, you don't really hear the anthem come on. But, if it's close to 5:00, you're in your car, windows up, radio on, and you see two people standing "at attention", that's a pretty good clue that it's time for retreat. So, I pull to the side and put my blinkers on. Okay...now, if it's close to 5:00, you're in your car, windows up, radio on, you see two people standing at attention and the car in front of you has pulled to the side and put the blinkers on...do you see where this is going? How was it not clear to the THREE cars that went around me that it was, in fact, time to pause for the playing of the national anthem??
A few months ago, David had a 6:00 softball game, and because David is David, we arrived an hour early. We were walking toward the field, and standing outside at the softball field, it is very easy to hear the speakers. So we stopped and stood for the 2 minutes it takes to get through both anthems. Then David went and spoke to the "coach" that had been leading a group of about 15 kids in stretches...during the national anthem.
I don't know what's with some people around here. I would've expected this particular demographic to be more respectful of military custom and America in general. I always tell my students that saying the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning is our way of saying "thank you" to the moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc. that are missing their families and maybe in danger right now. The boy who raises his hand and says, "They are fighting for us so we can believe in the things we want to believe in. Some of them might get hurt or die, so we should stand still and think of them every morning," I bet his parents stand still for 2 minutes at 5:00.