Country music star Jennifer Nettles performed the National Anthem at the ‘Battle at Bristol’, the game between the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech. In front of an audience of 150, the beautiful singer with the stunning voice sang the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ a Capella, rousing the audience into cheers and tears. The touching rendition was a breath of fresh air for patriotic-minded individuals who believe that honoring the National Anthem is important.
The announcer told the spectators, “Please rise and take off your hats.” Nettles was then introduced and belted out the anthem proudly with her stunning golden voice.
A massive American flag was unfurled and spread out over the field. Members of the United States Armed Forces stood holding flags or saluting during the song.
In the audience, the spectators all stood with hands on their hearts. Most held either a red, white or blue paper strip so that at a distance, the stands were bathed in stars and stripes.
As Nettles sang ‘the rockets’ red glare’, red fireworks blasted around the stadium, bringing gasps from the audience. A fly-over helped Nettles conclude the tune, at which point the audience erupted in applause and cheers. It was a moving display that will be remembered for years to come.
The controversy over the National Anthem these days has made the once time-honored tradition of opening sporting events with the anthem into a point of contention. More and more players have been ‘taking a knee’ or ‘opting out’ of the anthem because they feel that the U.S. is having too many issues with racism and police brutality. Others have joined them in solidarity to help their colleagues fight for their right to protest.
Many fans who feel the anthem should be respected feel offended and uncomfortable when they go to games and players opt out. The anthem stands for the country’s ideals and principles, such as freedom, and the people who have fought and even died for those ideals and principles. They feel snubbing the anthem is as good as snubbing those values that Americans hold dear, and the people who gave their lives to defend those values.
The protest has spilled off the NFL fields and into other sports, including school sporting events. Even some peewee league players who have no real idea what they’re protesting are joining in with their football heroes and coaches and taking a knee. In some city council meetings, local politicians have begun opting out of saluting the flag or saying the Pledge of Allegiance. The whole issue has gotten out of control.
President Donald Trump attempted to defend the flag, but with such political strife these days, many just took standing against the POTUS as another reason to protest. The ‘resistance’ movement against Mr. Trump is, for many, even more important than showing respect for the people who fought for their rights to resist.
For one shining moment, at least, Nettles did what few others have been able to do. She brought people together in a show of patriotism.