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Suspend playing of the National Anthem

John Baldoni
John Baldoni is a leadership consultant, coach, and speaker. He writes the "Leadership at Work" column for HarvardBusiness.org, and his most recent book is Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up.

If you try, you can forget that our nation has been at war for more than eight years. If you do not live near a military base or don't know anyone in the military, it is not hard at all. Aside from news of a bad IED attack, or in the wake of the horrific shootings that occurred at Fort Hood last fall, we can easily overlook the human toll the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan exact.

Sacrifice is a resonant theme in leadership but so often we are too busy to address it, or worse we may forget to remember those who are sacrificing on our behalf. Sacrifice for a cause is the most honorable act a leader can make.

So I would like to propose that for the next few months, in particular during the NFL playoff season, we do something to remember our fallen soldiers. Let's suspend playing the national anthem at major televised sporting events in favor of reading the names of soldiers who were killed in the previous week.

This idea is not totally original. Its genesis comes from our neighbor to the north, Canada.

First some background. Since Canadian Forces entered Afghanistan in 2001, its troops have sustained significant casualties, not in numbers compared to U.S. forces but in big numbers for a nation with little more than a tenth the population of ours. One person who knows the toll these sacrifices have taken is Don Cherry.

Cherry, former NHL Boston Bruins coach and journeyman player, is the iconic star of one of the most popular shows on CBC TV, Hockey Night in Canada. With his outlandishly colorful suits, high-starched collars, and working-class Toronto (a.k.a. "Tahrannta") accent, Cherry embodies the soul of what Canadians call "Our Game." And while his opinions about the game are decidedly old school, his reverence for the Canadian Forces is never questioned.

At the end of many (too many) of his "Coach's Corner" segments on this program, he shows photographs of and tells stories about the fallen soldiers. You can always hear the catch in his voice as he speaks of a soldier who loved hockey or his hometown. "Beautiful lad," Cherry will mutter. "God love 'em."

This is not an act. Cherry, now in his mid-seventies, has visited the troops in Afghanistan and never misses a chance to speak up for them and their families. We need not import Don Cherry but we can import something of what he does.

So I say at the start of every major sporting event, we have one of our well-known sports announcers talk about each and every one of the U.S. soldiers who has died in combat that week. Yes, it would take a bit of time but we can "make up" the time by suspending the playing of the National Anthem. This wouldn't have to go on forever -- maybe just for several weeks or months, as a way to focus our attention.

If this is not feasible, we might close each game with an approach that PBS's NewsHour uses. Periodically at the end of broadcast, pictures of soldiers who have fallen in battle will be scrolled on screen. No music. No narration. Just photographs and titles stating name, age and hometown.

This approach is eloquent in its simplicity and always makes me stop and pause. Staring at the faces of the soldiers I think to myself these men and women are not coming back. They died for a cause greater than themselves. And they are not coming back to anywhere. Their loss is permanent.

And that is why we need to "give up" some of our time to remember their sacrifice with their names and stories. A few moments of remembrance might make it that much harder to forget we are at war.

By John Baldoni

 |  January 11, 2010; 6:00 AM ET |  Category:  Sports leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The spirit and intent of Mr. Baldoni's suggestion is to be commended. Sadly, as the comments show, even this simple act would be seen as a commercial or political tool by many, instead of the opportunity to stop and consider what sacrifices are being made by all of the solidiers and their families.

Posted by: blaithin | January 12, 2010 1:17 PM

You are pathetic!

Posted by: KKlein | January 12, 2010 12:13 PM

I don't know about the details of Baldoni's proposal - it doesn't seem to me that most sportscasters work in the realm of solemn tones - but I like his sentiment. After all, most Americans don't have a personal investment in the war effort, in part because of the volunteer armed forces, in part because we haven't been asked as a citizenry to make any tangible sacrifices. Personally, two of my brothers were deployed in Iraq, so I feel a connection to the events unfolding, but many people don't have family members or close friends fighting overseas.

I think Baldoni's right about the Newshour - that show has it right with its simple and dignified presentation of our fallen men and women. That show's journalists also provide rich context with their reporting on the war, whereas there's little context to be found in a sports arena, where things like subtlety and solemnity are rare commodities.

Posted by: tomd3 | January 12, 2010 11:45 AM

Here's an idea: how about we take McCarthy era public acts of patriotism out of sports all together. Are you looking for commies in the crowd or something? They may be "national pastimes" but every team in every profesional sport is a corporation. Why are they in charge of my patriotism in the first place?

Posted by: hail-fellow-well-met | January 12, 2010 11:04 AM

I would suggest a conversation on the age of the "kids" who die each week in our wars. Start with the names of the fallen who are under the age of 21 and also mention the number of returned soldiers that suffer from "shaken brains." I think the number is close to 300,000 now.

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | January 12, 2010 10:39 AM

If the writer is not being disengenuous about honoring the troops, how about also reading the acomplishments of our armed forces.
Protecting our country from attack.
Protecting our citizens travelling abroad.
Protecting innocent civilians in multiple countries.
Keeping the world's sea lanes open.
Rescuing people in natural disasters.
Doing all this in a uniform, which makes them targets, instead of hiding among a civilian population, which makes the civilians targets.
Reading the names of the dead without honoring their accomplishments would dishonor both the living and the dead in our armed services by failing to remember that they volunteered to accomplish something they think is important and lived by a code of honor in pursuit of those goals. In the process they also respected the flag and the nationl anthem the writer suggests preempting.
If you want to tell a story about our armed forces, how about telling the whole story?

Posted by: jfv123 | January 12, 2010 10:07 AM

Wow that one pretty stupid idea there mr. Baldoni...our men and women in uniform aren't gimmicks.

Posted by: luca_20009 | January 12, 2010 8:57 AM

No, let's find another way to honor our brave military members. During Vietnam, reading the names of the falllen was a form of protest against the war. Let's not taint their memory with politics!

Posted by: tmhmd46 | January 12, 2010 7:21 AM

No, let's find another way to honor our brave military members. During Vietnam, reading the names of the falllen was a form of protest against the war. Let's not taint their memory with politics!

Posted by: tmhmd46 | January 12, 2010 7:20 AM

Reading the names of the fallen would quickly degenerate to gimmickry. Why not hand out beer and soda in cups with the names of departed heroes while we're at it?
The national anthem is an emblem which still inspires a chill down my spine and a lump in my throat. And it's because of those very people who the author seeks to exploit by exposure. We still love heroism, and the national anthem is our hymn of praise to these heroes.

Posted by: SavingGrace | January 12, 2010 5:58 AM

If we cannot honor our warriors first we do not deserve freedom.

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | January 12, 2010 5:47 AM

As a retired member of the U.S. Army, I think your idea is ludicrous. The Star Spangled Banner is one of the symbols of our country. I didn't fight for a song or a flag but for the ideals they symbolized. Refusing to play the national anthem is not the way to show support for those who have died. Our national anthem is recognized the world over. Don't hide it, play it proudly for those that gave their lives defending this country--and you.

Posted by: davidp54 | January 12, 2010 5:22 AM

Ridiculous! The National Anthem says it all!

Posted by: Three3 | January 11, 2010 9:41 PM

Why not maintain the tradition of playing the national anthem AND then reserve a moment of silence to honor all our service men and women, past and present, living or deceased.

A little respectful silence after the mangling of the song by the tone deaf and not so sober fans in the stands would be also most welcome.

As a point of information, the Star Spangled Banner was not formally adopted as the National Anthem until 1931.

Posted by: MillPond2 | January 11, 2010 9:01 PM

I disagree with the reading of the names unless it is done with true dignity. I would much prefer it if you would treat the living member of the military and their families who equally share the sacrifice they are making with the respect they deserve.

Just don't ever treat them like we were treated during the Vietnam War.

Remeber: Freedom is a privilege for those who choose to defend it!

Posted by: GordonShumway | January 11, 2010 6:08 PM

An immensely stupid suggestion.

1. Somehow the "reading of names" has taken on a mystical significance in the Cult of Victimhood. It's bad enough to be part of a service or memorial that now has to include a droning readout of names. AIDs victims, famous breast cancer victims, a 1 hour, 45-minute long "treat" of some self-important people reading out the 9/11 victims in what we had been misled to believe was to be a 30 minute memorial that then stretched to almost 2 hours.

My brother went to a memorial to a cop who had been killed "on duty" when he suffered a heart attack..and was treated to a stultifying babble of naming every cop who had died "while serving" in the state going back to 1882.

2. It is bad enough to have these asinine "namings of the dead" in a voluntary setting. But sitting for 2 hours at each ball game while "The Honor Roll of Heroes" is said? I'd be screaming shut up and play 5 minutes into it or change the channel..or demand to know in the future when whatever "dead person" laundry list is done so I could show up or tune in.
Same goes for an air flight...if they ever abused passengers with a dead people roll call....I'd be praying for Al Qaeda to intercede.

3. I hate the US National Anthem and would prefer a better tune....but I endure 47 seconds of that a whole lot better than the prospect of two hours of having to play along with patriotic or emotional blackmail reading off names of random dead strangers.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | January 11, 2010 5:03 PM

Why not a moment of silence while the pictures and names of the dead soldiers are shown on the stadium jumbotron?

Posted by: joerod1 | January 11, 2010 4:44 PM

I received notice that I'm going to deploy (I'm a Navy Reservist) soon and I don't support this idea at all.

We are not public property to be used as political props when some hack politician needs a photo op or to substitute for the National Anthem at a hockey game.

What next, a lecture on how health reform will cure the deficit before the first pitch is thrown?

You want to thank us? Great, be civil to us when you see us in uniform, be an informed voter and enjoy your life in America. I volunteered because I wanted to do this, because I earn a decent living doing it and because I love my country. I didn't sign up to be a political prop or part of anyone's teachable moment.

Posted by: NoDonkey | January 11, 2010 4:20 PM

Here's an idea: if you really want to support our troops, why don't we just avoid sending them into unwinnable and irrelevant wars of choice, instead of ritualistically fetishizing their dead corpses.

And here's another idea: why don't we read the names of those who died because America is the only First World country without universal health care? I guarantee you that's a MUCH LONGER list.

Posted by: KAR_120C | January 11, 2010 4:07 PM

Baldoni's suggestion of sacrificing the National Anthem on the altar of respect and honor for lost soldier heros doesn't compute. These men and women are patriots and my personal experience with the military is they would abhor repacing the Anthem. The feeble suggestion of gaining the 1 1/2 minutes for the respectful recognition of fallen soldiers is counterintuitive. Just add the time and show our respect if you will but that leaves Baldoni shy of his goal of burying the Anthem. Thank goodness our soldiers aren't subject to sharing a foxhole with this guy.

Posted by: mrtro | January 11, 2010 4:03 PM

Here's an idea: Put up the addresses of military recruiter offices on the giant screens, so the chickenhawks who think singing the anthem is all the sacrifice they need to make, know where to sign up. Or, have recruiter booths set up, so they can sign up right there.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 11, 2010 3:53 PM

liberal "no combat" military whiners want to curb singing entertainment and bring back conscription.

here is a compromise:

show images on a big blue screen of ambitious pugnacious american soldier volunteers and corrupt tattooed nicotene dependant mentally ill cops who got wounded, humiliated, and exploded while singing the country song.

vive le violence and send more stupid social workers into the very very dangerous land of allah.

Posted by: therapy | January 11, 2010 2:58 PM

A suggestion: Why not call the fathers or the mothers to announce the names of their fallen sons?

Posted by: epicurean951 | January 11, 2010 2:56 PM

I wonder if any American who have lost his son or daughter in these "blood for oil wars" opposes to this significant and patriotic initiative.

Posted by: epicurean951 | January 11, 2010 2:49 PM

Let's not forget what that Don Cherry has had to say about our Alex Ovechkin. He's no friend of DC hockey.

Posted by: rjma1 | January 11, 2010 2:25 PM

You can't do this. It will remind those that have no stake in the war, that there is a war going on, and Americans are dying. You'll ruin their day and make them aware that a very small percentage are sacrificing something.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 11, 2010 2:12 PM

And code pink can hold an anti-war rally at halftime.

Surely John Baldoni has Cindy Sheehan on speed dial.

Posted by: spamsux1 | January 11, 2010 2:07 PM

How about reading the names and viewing pictures of the 15,000 to 16,000 people murdered in the U.S. every year or the names and pictures of 40,000+ people killed in motor vehicle accidents every year in the U.S. Hey nut, get real. PLAY THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.

Posted by: btrreader | January 11, 2010 2:01 PM

What I would rather see is the pictures of the war dead and a short bio displayed at local Memorial Day observances. Right now the focus is all on patriotic speeches almost always by a retired member of the military. Memorial day is supposed to be about remembrance not a pep rally for the next war.

Posted by: rjma1 | January 11, 2010 1:37 PM

During WWII the National Anthem was not only played before sporting events, but at all public performances; concerts, theater productions, even movies. Its the one thing we have that, despite our differing political persuasions, reminds us we're all in the same boat.
As for pop divas' reinterpretations; they should be forced to listen to Jimi Hendix's version (cranked way up)and be instructed not to try unless they can do better than that. At least, Jimi was a vet.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | January 11, 2010 1:35 PM

A very Canadian, and very silly, idea. Let's let them keep it. (It must be a very short reading, in Canada?)

Let's look at the practical part first - who would be listening? The first couple of names would be read, the fans would take a look at one another, and start shouting, chattering, cheering...whatever.

Second, the list of names of those killed in a typical week would take about 30 seconds to read; this ain't WWII, or even Vietnam.

Third, what is there specifically about a football game that makes it appropriate to be focusing on war dead? It's as idiosyncratic and out-of-place as having a bake sale at your grandmother's funeral.

So stay with the anthem, which I think does a far better job of providing a reasonably solemn and unifying opening to the proceedings.

Posted by: threeoaksgone | January 11, 2010 1:20 PM

We will sing the National Anthem at sporting events and ballgames because we want to, not because someone is telling us to.
Hence, telling us not to sing the National Anthem, might find the National anthem running in song ....with or without it's placement in the agenda.

Buzz off kook.

Posted by: dottydo | January 11, 2010 1:19 PM

A military band plays the National Anthem (I totally agree with a previous posting - NO pop artists deciding they need to reinterpret the National Anthem), and instead of the TV stations showing fans and players acting disrespectfully, which is the normal practice, respectfully scroll the names and hometowns of those who have fallen to coincide with the ending ("land of the free and home of the brave"). I'm sure the directors and producers can figure that out.

Posted by: SDTF21 | January 11, 2010 1:10 PM

This is the strangest idea I've ever heard. The national anthem is ALREADY about the courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. It's already meant as a solemn reminder of the human cost of our blessed freedom. Doesn't anyone remember the words to our own national anthem?

Posted by: GodFamilyNation | January 11, 2010 1:07 PM

Count me as one of those who thinks that what the PBS News hour has been doing, showing the names and faces of those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice, is the right thing to do. It makes the ugliness of war far more real and meaningful when presented in this manner. We glorify war way too much and I personally get a bit nauseated by the way we constantly seek heroes and to glorify our military at sporting events with sappy pseudo-patriotic displays. If we really want to honor these men and women, then show their faces and names like PBS does and ditch the stadium fly-overs and other such pageantry. Of course the pro-war patriots will hate this notion since fighters screaming overhead is far more sexy than showing the dead.

Posted by: JKJ88 | January 11, 2010 1:02 PM

Why just the ones who died?

Or another proposal: At each game we read off the names of 10 or 20 of those killed on 9-11. We can watch the people in favor of your proposal complain as if they weren't being complete hypocrites.

Posted by: buckdharma | January 11, 2010 12:50 PM

If i die in a war, I don't want my name read, to be followed by "peanuts here, get your red hot peanuts here."

Posted by: RadicalGlove | January 11, 2010 12:42 PM

Too many commenters are hung up on the part of the suggestion to cut the National Anthem from sporting events. The crux of the article is not to cut the National Anthem, but to include the names of the fallen so that all of America can know them and the courage they have showed protecting our freedom.

Replacing the National Anthem was just a suggestion in order that we not add more pre-game time. Besides, musically, the National Anthem has a horrible melody (from and English drinking song) and excessive key changes that only make sense when singing in a bar.

It makes sense to actually pay tribute to those who are currently keeping us the "land of the free, and the home of the brave." Paying tribute is not politicizing the current wars unless you think that politically all of the burden of the war should be placed on the families with members who have volunteered.

Wars in a democracy are borne by all, and it would do well to remind us all of that fact. Instead, the only decent news coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan comes from Stephen Colbert or PBS. Almost ever other news outlet takes a political slant of what the Republicans or what the Democrats are saying about the war now.

Posted by: AndrewS2 | January 11, 2010 12:41 PM

John Baldoni's pedigree seems too stellar for him not to know the considerable, left-enabling, downside to his suggestion. Because of that downside, his idea is a non-starter for all who want the fallen to not have died in a vain cause.

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | January 11, 2010 12:39 PM

What you're suggesting here would make the American sports fan think and reflect. Do you realize how dangerous that is to the corporate networks and their sponsors? Much easier to just pay lip service to patriotic feelings via the short but sweet national anthem, and the less talented the singer the better, eh? Football playoffs are much more important than wars, let's face it. How can a dead soldier compare to a live score? So it goes....

Posted by: MickNamVet | January 11, 2010 12:34 PM

I believe that most if not all of the departed soldiers would rather have the National Anthem played in their honor rather than have their names read.

The writer of this article would rather drag the names of dead through the mud so as to make a political statement for his views.

Posted by: L1ncon | January 11, 2010 12:33 PM

The Marxists(Progressives) in this country can't wait to trash all tradition and the Constitution!

No God, No patriotism, just Marxist secular equality!!

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | January 11, 2010 12:17 PM

Keep the National Anthem as its non-political as we each have our ideas of what are country is, where its been, and makes us thing about where we want it to be.

Posted by: 45upnorth | January 11, 2010 12:13 PM

I appreciate the sentiment, but I agree that the method is not very good. Cutting out the Natl Anthem would be cutting out a symbol of something for which, in part, these people sacrificed. I am also afraid such an effort would become too easily politicized in either or both directions. Cherry's efforts are his personal choice; a football effort would be a corporate decision rather than personal choices.

Much is already being done to cite those who have died in service. But, we need to do more for those who are serving and have served, the living veterans and their families.

I also support a national service mandate, but that is an entirely new discussion.

Posted by: marlendale | January 11, 2010 12:04 PM

As a veteran, um, NO. Dumbest idea in today's paper. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Posted by: colonel5 | January 11, 2010 11:30 AM

Don't let this guy's slick suggestion mask his anti-war message. It's one thing to honor America's war dead, but by doing so as part of a campaign against military actions seems disrespectful of their sacrifice and hypocritical. Singing the national anthem honors our Flag, our Nation, and our soldiers and sailors. "Oh but it's OK because they do it in Canada!" They also never fought a war against a foreign tyrant for their own independence, instead they waited meekly until their monarch decided it was time for greater autonomy, yet not complete independence. Our honored dead fought for that independence and have fought ever since to maintain it; independence of thought, action, and will. No, we must sing the national anthem as we always have with the same pride and confidence, so many have sacrificed so much for at least that much.

Posted by: SUMB44 | January 11, 2010 11:27 AM

I have no problem with the National Anthemn being sung before sporting events, however the show around it has gotten out of hand, as has the nationalism that has overtaken the 7th inning stretch, with other songs of patriotism overshadowing the traditional "Take me out to the ballgame."

When I go to a ballgame, I want to go to a ballgame, not a nationist rally... this hyper-patriotism in song reminds me of how Hitler would play Wagner at his rallies.

Posted by: wayoffbaseguy | January 11, 2010 11:26 AM

the only thing that will straighten this country out in regards to war is a military draft lottery with NO DEFERMENTS
except physical. once a draft is implemented our so-called 'WAR ON TERROR" WILL BE OVER IN 6 MONTHS.


Posted by: surlydoc | January 11, 2010 11:23 AM

It has become for so called experts and commentators (Thanks to Media) always to exploit and arouse passion among readers. Is this a burning issue for the media to publicize such comments? What is wrong in singing National Anthem in sports where the politicians and commentators have least influence. If he does not want to listen, he can mute the volume. It is none of his business to force his belief(to create sensationalism). Singing National Anthem should not be made an issue and the media should better concentrate on issues which affect common man. Why should a non issue get publicity at all.

Posted by: ganeshan | January 11, 2010 11:14 AM

Great idea. It was very effective during the Vietnam War when they gave the death toll every night and read off the names of the dead. You would never know we are at war now. We ignore the fact that people are dying for nothing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop the Wars and bring our troops home.

Posted by: saami | January 11, 2010 11:11 AM

What about the wishes of the fallen, or their families? Most don't wish to have their names read, even in a tribute like this. Notice that although photos at Dover are now allowed, families aren't running over each other to get pictures of them into the public sphere. These dead are husbands, fathers, sons, and daughters. Not names to be read while Joe 6-pack waits for the kickoff.

Posted by: huguenotklj | January 11, 2010 11:06 AM

Don, you can not suspend the playing of our National Anthem... period!! Once you open that gate, it can not be closed because of Political Correctness that rules us now! Great thought, but why should we compromise anything? Just DO IT... we will watch and honor our fallen as well as our Country.

Posted by: daboov | January 11, 2010 11:05 AM

I know that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are very sensitive and heavily politicized, and this politicization has crept into many facets of everyday life, but can't we draw the line SOMEWHERE?? Is it really necessary to politicize sporting events? If you are going to turn a sporting event into political commentary, why stop there? Why not let kids read names during recess, or have the names announced on elevators instead of having muszak? If a sports commentator wants to have a segment of his own show devoted to the fallen, that is fine -- but why allow someone to forcibly hijack an entire sporting event to push a personal agenda?

Posted by: carpiodiem | January 11, 2010 10:50 AM

While I appreciate the sentiment behind Mr. Baldoni's suggestion, the truth is that it just isn't going to happen.

That said, perhaps a compromise solution would be for sporting events to suspend the use of pop divas' butchered versions of the Star Spangled Banner, and substitute a recording from a military band. Of course this would obviously irritate a lot of parasitic agents, but it certainly would return the national anthem to its more traditional function.

Posted by: andym108 | January 11, 2010 10:48 AM

During World War One and World War Two or Korea or Vietnam or Iraq no pundit called for the suspension of the playing of the National Anthem. I have no idea who this guy Baldoni is, but he has figured out one thing - how to get his name in the paper.

Posted by: mhr614 | January 11, 2010 10:22 AM

The Canadian tribute goes beyond Hockey Night In Canada as there is a procession down the "Highway of Heroes" between Trenton Airforce Base and Toronto for each fallen soldier. People go on the over-passes and pay tribute. It is the opposite of the US practice of no pictures of caskets. Canadians are very commited to the war effort in Afghanistan because they understand the investment in human lives that has been made.

Posted by: MHawke | January 11, 2010 10:15 AM

Here's a thought: why bother with national anthems at all? Why should sporting events be any different than other parts of society? You don't play the anthem when you arrive at work, or before every TV show, or in church... why at a football or hockey game? I understand it at events where nationalism is a factor, such as the Olympics, but what does the national anthem - or all that military-related stuff that usually goes with it in the USA - have to do with the Colts and the Giants playing a game?

Posted by: beefchop423 | January 11, 2010 10:09 AM

While I can appreciate what I believe you'd like your message to be, I am thoroughly dismayed by the idea that we would suspend the playing of our national anthem. I have a son in the Army, along with two nephews and several sons of friends, all currently serving our country. I believe there is nothing more moving than the playing of our anthem ... truly, I can barely get through the song without tears streaming. It's a proud and glorious song with great meaning for those serving today, past and future. Most of the sporting events I attend - from kids activities to professional sports - treat the anthem with reverence. Rather than eliminate the anthem, why not include photos of current soldiers - not necessarily the deceased - who are serving our great nation. Believe me, those in combat already know the daily tolls. Why not enhance support for the soldiers by putting a spotlight on those under fire.

Posted by: sjcmcc1 | January 11, 2010 10:00 AM

I couldn't agree more, Mr. Baldoni.
PBS's NewsHour has the right idea: a poignant remembrance of our fallen. We should never forget what these men and women do for us and our great country.
God Bless America and those who protect it.
God love 'em.
- Francie

Posted by: FrancieDalton | January 11, 2010 9:52 AM

No, you shouldn't suspend the anthem. Really, a sporting event has nothing to do with honoring the fallen. It's a game at heart, and trying to make it into something more meaningful is pointless. You die in Iraq and what, get your name mentioned at a football game? Great. I agree that the names need to be mentioned, both to honor them and to remind everyone about the costs of the war.

So, I second reading the names on the national news. It will reach more people and will be more meaningful than getting rid of the national anthem (which is a disrespectful thing to do, by the way) at sporting events.

Posted by: Sitka1 | January 11, 2010 9:49 AM

I understand your thinking and can appreciate it but as other posters here note, and I wont be so crass, the anthem shouldnt be suspended but perhaps the names spoken at the end of the anthem!
Pray that there is no list to read but just an exclamation of no casualties and a raucus thank you from the crowd to all those overseas watching!!!
God Bless all our troops!!!

Posted by: davemichelle09 | January 11, 2010 9:41 AM

How asinine to suggest that the anthem is what becomes sacrificed to make this happen.

Posted by: nw2010 | January 11, 2010 9:31 AM

Fidel Castro could always use another thinker like you. Go to Cuba where such ideas continue to impoverish and enslave the people.

Posted by: jimhill1 | January 11, 2010 9:26 AM

During the Vietnam war, channel 5 in NYC would scroll the names of those killed that day. It got old in a hurry. After a short time the scrolling of the dead had the same impact as TV credits. Since this war is fought by volunteers from a tiny percentage of American households, Americans don't really care. If this army included draftees, there would be demonstrations in the street and the war would be winding down because the politicians would be running for their political life. I suggest that your leadership counsel provide the book " 2nd Tour Hope I don't Die" by Peter Van Agtmael to as many young Americans as possible. Your suggestion that we read the names of the dead is a pipe dream and reflects a naivete' that our government fights good wars and that the sacrifices of the young are appreciated by our self indulgent society.

Posted by: bfkennedy2 | January 11, 2010 9:22 AM

Well, it would stop people from screaming, "Oh!" during the anthem. Talk about disrespectful.

Posted by: stwasm | January 11, 2010 8:16 AM

As an Army dad, I appreciate the spirit of what you're saying, but "replacing" the National Anthem is NOT the answer. Have you ever seen what the Baltimore Ravens do before each game as part of the National Anthem presentation? They march out onto the field, small groups of veterans of each branch of the military while playing "I'm Proud to Be An American." It's a beautiful tribute to those who've served. Would hate to see that kind of thing go away. More importantly, the Anthem is seen "only" by those in the stadium, and not by the many, many millions at home. No, let's not throw away our anthem. It embodies what they died for and inspires those in the stadium, fortunate enough to hear it.

Let's honor all those who serve by putting their lives on the line for us, living and dead, military and homeland (police, firefighters, etc.) in some other way.

Kudos to Don Cherry!

Michael Ortman
Ellicott City, MD

Posted by: ykc8 | January 11, 2010 7:32 AM

Wrong. How about having the media and the government mention the fallen? How about any acknowledgment at all? The nightly news during the Vietnam war always had footage of fighting and always updated the casualty numbers. Go tell Bush and Obama that showing the returning flag draped coffins is necessary--the government and media don't want this "downer" to bum out the sheeple who support them.

Posted by: Beckola | January 11, 2010 6:53 AM

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