Over the weekend my Battalion Commander had occasion to hear me singing during "karaoke night," so I dashed off an email to him asking him whether I might be able to sing the National Anthem at the Casing of the Colors ceremony we were going to have, to mark the end of Task Force Mustang's service here in Kosovo.
He wrote back to say that would be great, but that we weren't going to have a Color Guard, and that it would just present too many problems to have me sing the National Anthem.
Fine by me, but I thought I'd ask.
Ever since I joined the Army it's been difficult to stand at attention (or at "Present Arms") while a recording of The Star Spangled Banner is being played, and not sing along. It's just not done, I guess.
So Monday afternoon I showed up for the rehearsal, at which point the Commander said to me, "Are you ready to sing the National Anthem?"
I thought I was hearing things.
"But Sir, just yesterday you told me I *wasn't* going to sing it."
"Well, I've changed my mind. I'm the Commander. I can do that. You *do* know it, don't you?"
So I sang the National Anthem, a cappella, in front of my Troops, as they all stood at "Present Arms" outside the Post theater.
One of the Soldiers, whom I don't know all that well, came up to me afterward and said, "Sir, I've never felt so much pride during the National Anthem as I did today. Thank you."
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ