12 Must Follow National Anthem Etiquette

National Anthem Etiquette
The most important parts of national anthem etiquette are to stand up straight, take off your hat, and place your hand over your heart. When you follow these rules and show respect by focusing on the anthem and its meaning, you are honoring your country.

1. Stand up straight

football team standing for national anthem
Football team standing for national anthem

You must stand up for the national anthem to show respect for the country. This gesture honors the freedom fighters who gave their lives fighting. It also shows reverence for the national flag.

Follow this ritual when you are in public and private events. This includes sporting events, parades, and other patriotic events, like the 4th of July parades.

2. Take off your hat

Removing headwear is proper etiquette in a rendition of the national anthem. This tradition started centuries ago in the Middle Ages. Medieval knights identified themselves and showed respect by taking their helmets off. Not so long ago, gentlemen would take their hats off when entering places. Today, men and women take their hats off to show respect for the national anthem.

However, Muslims, the Amish, Jews, and Sikhs keep their headwear on for religious or cultural reasons. Christian religious leaders may also keep their headwear. Cancer patients may feel uncomfortable without headwear.

3. Eyes on the flag

The U.S. Code has a law regarding flag etiquette, the Flag Code. It says that people should face the flag whenever a ceremony displays the U.S. flag. If there isn’t any flagpole with a flag, face the direction of the music or the person leading the anthem.

4. Hand over heart

man keeping a hand over heart
Man keeping his hand over heart during the national anthem

Place your right hand over your heart when it is played. NCBI Research shows that when people touch their hearts, they are more honest and perceive them this way. That’s why Americans do it during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.

Military personnel renders the military salute instead. In uniform or not, members of the armed forces, including veterans, do this with respect.

5. Sing along

Singing along shows patriotism and love for the country. The anthem and flag are the most important symbols of this democracy. You probably already know the words by heart. But if you don’t, learn them. Knowing the most patriotic song in the country is knowing its history.

6. Be quiet

Stay quiet and still. This shows consideration for the ceremony and the country. It will only last a few minutes, so don’t move or fidget since it can distract and disrespect others.

7. Focus!

Stop everything you’re doing when you hear the first note of the anthem. Talking, texting, or engaging in other activities during the national anthem is disrespectful. You should focus on the music and the flag. Be polite and allow other people to do the same.

8. No chewing gum or food

Do not chew gum during the national anthem. You may think this won’t or shouldn’t bother anyone, but it is often seen as a disregard. Eating is also disrespectful. You can wait a little bit to eat, so why do it during a solemn ceremony?

9. No phones, please

Avoid using your phone during the anthem. Not only is it disrespectful, but it is also distracting. Phone rings can disrupt the entire atmosphere during the music.

If there’s an emergency, you can use your phone during the national anthem. Try speaking softly and going to a quieter place.

10. Do not show any disrespect or mockery

Some behaviors are considered disrespectful during the national anthem. These include laughing, talking, or making rude gestures. The anthem is not only a song but a symbol of the country’s unity and pride. Showing disrespect during the anthem is showing disrespect to the country.

11. Know when to leave or sit down

During a sports event like a Tennis match, it’s normal to sit during the game. But you can’t stay seated when the American anthem starts to play. This attitude is disrespectful. That is unless you are a person with a disability that makes you unable to stand. Leaving the place while the song is still playing also shows a lack of respect for the country. Stay till the last note ends.

12. The meaning of the national anthem

After a critical victory of the American troops in the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key saw soldiers raising an American flag. The soldiers’ patriotism inspired the attorney and amateur poet. He then wrote the Star-Spangled Banner’s initial verse behind a letter.

This anthem symbolizes the home of the brave people who fought for it. Showing respect during it honors this memory.

Ana C.

Ana C. is an artistic writer who loves shaping language around her message. For her, etiquette is about respecting everyone and spreading kindness. She loves hanging out with goats, analyzing TV shows, and eating feijoada with farofa.

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