Monday, May 14, 2007

Soldiers


I recently attended a showing of "Spiderman 3" here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorioum we use for movies as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through the National Anthem the music stopped.

Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.

Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward.

The music started again. The Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter as everyone sat down and expected the movie to start.

Here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier stood at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand Soldiers<

And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?



It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here.

83 Comments:

At 10:25 AM, Anonymous chaplainkay said...

CH Higgins,
I just read your post to my wife and we sat in awe while tears filled our eyes. This might be one of the neatest stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment with the world. God bless our troops.

 
At 12:05 AM, Blogger Flag Gazer said...

You truly are with the best of America's youth - God Bless Them All! I am thankful for them everyday.

OK - I need kleenex...

 
At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Tony said...

Great Story!!!

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Sarge Charlie said...

Thanks for sharing this story, we know you are with America's Finest in the desert. To bad the networks will not report this.

 
At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

When I was at Valley Forge Army Hospital in 1971, we had a theater and a good many flicks.
The first few rows of seats--which are generally on the flat part of the floor--had been taken out. Those were where the guys in wheel chairs sat.
They had each chosen a less wounded buddy to help them stand during the Anthem.
Damn.

 
At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Terri said...

What a truly amazing Story! I am very proud and inspired daily by the character of the young men and women serving in our Country's Armed Forces. Thanks for sharing this story.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger I am Heidi's Mom. said...

This is awesome and inspiring.

 
At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me of 1000 United Methodist ministers singing "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing" a capella at Garnett Wilder's Funeral at Decatur First. (I'll let you guess, Jim, who is walking down memory lane on this one.)

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger De'on Miller said...

Great story! Awesome soldiers. God bless each of you.

 
At 5:54 PM, Anonymous CJ said...

Should that be Spiderman 3? I haven't heard of a Superman 3. Either way, great story. One thing I love about going to the theater on post here (other than being cheaper) is that before EVERY movie the National Anthem is played, everyone stands up, and the room gets generally quiet until the end. It's a great feeling to be an American. We need more of that.

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger Robin said...

My eyes are filled with tears.
Tears of pride. Tears of honor and gratitude for our countries best -
our troops.
God bless each and everyone who serves our country.This story should be on the front page of every newspaper.
Robin

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger Ron Simpson said...

From my experience, that would have happened at any military post. Soldiers are more patriotic by nature than the average American. When I was a soldier, I realized what the job meant. I understood what patriotism was at 17. Maybe that is because I come from a long line of soldiers. But I knew then and I know it now. God bless the troops.

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger Desert Songbird said...

Outstanding. I'm a humbled and moved to tears by this.

Thank you for sharing.

 
At 5:32 AM, Blogger Mrs. Badger 6 said...

Flag Gazer sent me over to read this. Very moving. Restoration in my faith of today's youth and confirmation that our troops are great men and women.

 
At 5:55 AM, Blogger Stacy said...

Thanks soldier for sharing this story with us. You guys/gals are the very best.

 
At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks soldier for sharing that. We are truly fortunate to have such men as these protecting us. God bless you all!

 
At 7:06 PM, Anonymous MissBirdlegs in AL said...

What a great story! I really would expect nothing else from our fantastic troops. They (and you) have my undying gratitude for the hard work and for the example y'all set for the folks back at home. Thank you for sharing.

 
At 7:11 PM, Anonymous benstein said...

You guys are the stars in the sky. God bless every one of you. Without you, we are NOTHING.

Love, Ben Stein

 
At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Linda Gifford said...

Thank you for serving. 2 of my online college students are serving in Iraq and they are more faithful to turn in their assignments than students the states

 
At 3:54 AM, Blogger Claire said...

Wonderful story and thank you for sharing! My son is a deployed soldier (Stryker Brigade), and it is so encouraging to hear stories like this. Thank you for encouraging my heart today.

 
At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Alan Moeller said...

In response to the question posed by the concluding lines of our National Anthem, I can only say, "Yes... it does!"

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind if I share this story with some email buddies!

 
At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Ann said...

I loved reading this and have sent the link to many friends and family so they can read it, too.

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing the story with all of us, and thank you for your service!

 
At 4:47 PM, Blogger The WatchCat said...

Thanks so much for sharing that. I spent last week with some military families and was absolutely awed by them, even though I'd known one all my life and had just met others. With such as these defending us, how dare we fail in courage? God bless you all.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Reverie said...

I am truly humbled to know that people like these soldiers exist.

Reverie

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chaplain Higgins, I forward to you the response of one of the members of the "Chapter61DisabledRetirees@yahoo.com" list which I moderate:

"PLEASE, send thanks to the Chappy, tell him we need to see more of this kind
of patriotism, and strong morale that seems to be intact in our fighting men and women,
even when our own Congressmen and women who are being less that patriotic!
Karen Mulhollem"

My service is from the Viet Nam era. I thank you for your service in defense of our freedoms.

Charlie Revie
LTC USArmy Retired

Moderator:
VVB-Forum@yahoogroups.com
MRGRG-NM@yahoogroups.com
Chapter61DisabledRetirees@yahoogroups.com

Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees Legislative Director
http://capwiz.com/usdr/

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Chris said...

That's Real Motivation. God bless you all.

 
At 3:02 PM, Anonymous warvet48 said...

God Bless them, brings tears to my eyes. How natural it is for the military to have the patriotic streak than others.

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Bob said...

While at Fort Benning last summer we went to the post theater with our son (who was attending Airborne School). I was pleased to find that the tradition of standing for the national anthem before the movie had been handed down since I was in 30 years ago. But the most touching thing I witnessed was the three-year old in the row ahead of us instructing his E-7 Drill Instructor father, "Dad, time to stand up fo' the Pwedge uv Aweegents now!"

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger + > i said...

This is very moving to me. Thank you.

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for that story. It is because the men know the word respect and that is a word that is getting lost in the world. The cost of my freedom is high and I thank God for men like the ones that are over there paying it for me. I will keep you in my prayers.

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Seansmom03 said...

I work in different high schools throughout our county during the school year and your description of many young people at home was unfortunately quite accurate. Your story did bring tears of pride to my eyes and two words came to mind as I read it, "TOTALLY AWESOME!" But then, as the mother of a Corporal in the Marine Corps, I honestly would not have expected anything less from our military. Thank you for sharing this story.

 
At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so very proud of each and everyone of these young me and women! I cry every time now during the National Anthem when it gets to the part The Rockets red glare. I guess I never really thought to much about the words till my son went to Iraq. Thank You from the bottom of my heart for your service. My prayers are with you and all the other men and women protecting our Freedom. Stay safe
Proud Air Force Mom

 
At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! You just gotta love the Marines!

 
At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. how utterly sickening.

 
At 2:04 PM, Blogger DJ Drummond said...

Men like these, are why America still matters, and why, in the long run, she shall always prevail.

We don't deserve all you do, but thank God for you guys.

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Theresa said...

Oh how I remember those movies at the base theater. After serving my country for 25 years, now my son carries on as a Corpsman with the Marines I know the patriotism that courses the veins of those so young, who work so hard defending freedom. As the first notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" begin to play I always get a tingle up my spine. I will bet it was one of the most beautiful versions ever! Thank you, for this message.

 
At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Karla said...

over from 'One Marine's View'.

Thank you, sir. I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself since I haven't heard from my deployed son since Mother's Day.

I needed the reminder of the WHY behind his absence. thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 
At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Private First Class E.M. Winters said...

that is what being an american is all about. Semper Fi.

 
At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the uplifting story. We are proud of our troops and hope they will stay safe and return home soon. Thanks!!!!!

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Maj. Higgins,
Thank you sharing this story. May God
continue to keep you and the troops
away from "harm's way".

 
At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to personally thank Maj, Higgins and all the other submitters for their time and creativity in responding.

Butch Jackman

 
At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Bill P said...

I read this wonderful story and all of the posts. The one that bothers me most is from anonymous stating, I believe "how utterly sickening" This person has no guts or he/she would have left their name.

 
At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Carlee said...

I agree with Bill P, posted 10:11 a.m., that one "how utterly sickening" comment sender probably uttered those words from a comfortable position, in a comfortable home, in a comfortable world ... made so by our soldiers. the sender might want to consider that the next time voice is put to words.

 
At 1:21 PM, Anonymous WAM said...

I believe that all those guys and gals serving in Iraq as well as nearby will return home with unique outlook on the life that we have. As such, they will, if they choose, develop into better thinking law makers and journalists than we now have.

 
At 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you and all the fine men and women who are protecting us and allowing the freedoms that some take for granted!
Thank you,
Dan & Carole Loren

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Wow, that's pretty awe inspiring! God Bless our troops and God Bless the USA!!!!

 
At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the mother of an Army son serving in Baghdad and a Marine daughter serving aboard the USS Enterprise, I am not surprised at the soldiers response. Our soldiers are the finest in the world. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. God bless all of you.

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Clayton Ridley said...

Chaplain -

Your post is circulating across MySpace, being posted and re-posted and re-posted. A friend if mine took the time to look it up and verify it actually happened, and we are now including a direct link in the postings.

I can't think of anything else to say except THANK YOU. This is inspiring.

 
At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in a public library in Portland Oregon with tears in my eyes reading what you wrote! I cannot tell you how meaningful it was for me to read. I am so very proud of you, the American Soldiers who have volunteered to risk their lives, in order to make our world a better place.
You are indeed my Heroes!
Thank You, and God Bless You to the max! Claudia

 
At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Pattie said...

My husband is currently serving in Balad as an AF chaplain. Bless you for posting this. I'm only sorry that the email going around has changed some of the details to make it look less reputable. God bless you.

 
At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Cynthia McMullen, Richmond, VA said...

This is wonderful to read. I looked you up after receiving your story via e-mail.

My dad is a retired United Methodist minister in Virginia, and he was assistant to a chaplain during World War II (stationed the longest in England, but also elsewhere in Europe). He is 90 years old now.

I'm e-mailing the story to my mom so she can read it to him (unfortunately, he's now legally blind because of macular degeneration). I know he will appreciate it. God bless you and "the boys."

 
At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, how "utterly sickening" this wouldn't have the same outcome everywhere else that the National Anthem will be/has been played this week (ballparks, stadiums, etc.).

 
At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, how "utterly sickening" that such a story-beginning wouldn't have the same outcome everywhere else that the National Anthem will be/has been played this week (ballparks, stadiums, etc.).

 
At 8:16 AM, Anonymous jeanie said...

Our troops across the sea are the best and most bravest on this earth. I support their dedication for protecting my freedom. I pray for their safe return. God Bless our men and women serving there. Thank you so much. We love you.

 
At 9:22 PM, Blogger Barb said...

Ch. Higgins - I did a search after reading of your post/letter at Sgt Hook's site (http://sgthook.com/2008/01/17/inspiring/). What a wonderful and inspiring story, proves again how wonderful our men and women in uniform really are. Thank you for your service, and for sharing this story!

 
At 11:58 AM, Anonymous kay said...

My brother PFC. Robert worthington was killed last May 22,2007. It's sad to say and im ashamed but it took him joining and dieing to realize what the American soldier really does for us. I just want to thank all the service men for what they do and im behind ya'll 110% God Bless
All Of Ya'll !!!! Much love
xoxo kay xoxo

 
At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your story is so true about the people in America...how they don't pay respect to the National Anthem & would just holler about the movie...thank God for our troops all over the world or i fear our country would be in big trouble

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger MawDot said...

This is an inspiring story. It takes a lot of guts to fight a war, especially in a foreign land! God Bless all our troops!

 
At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story. You'll never see this story in our negative reporting media. It's not sensational enough. They fear it won't sell newspapers or attract viewers. They are wrong.
Tom

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why we are considered one of the greatest nations. We love all of our soldiers for risking everthing to help us maintain the freedoms that we enjoy everyday. I want to personally thank you all for risking your lives so that me, my husband and my 2 boys can enjoy life to its fullest. God Bless You and God Bless America. They may can take it off of money but they can't take it from our hearts.

 
At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this at Authors Den regarding this subject.

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewshortstory.asp?id=33920

Pete Grasso did a great job using this recent posting by Chaplain Higgins to further demonstrate the lack of respect Obama has for this nation and our service men and women.

I love it!! He even included the law reference that Obama has chosen to totally disregard!

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger TxnByBrth said...

God Bless and bring you home safe.

 
At 9:29 PM, Blogger sarah said...

Dear Mr. Higgins,
I was truly touched by your story, and thank God every day for people my age that are as selfless and courageous as to be in the military protecting my freedom as well as the freedom and happiness of people of other countries. I just want you to know though that I too have seen beautiful patriotic acts of young people. And though the stereotype for 20-year-olds is disrespect, reality from the inside of a 20-year-old is that we care very much, and many of us have the upmost respect and love for this country. Just because we have decided to serve our country in other ways does not mean we love it any less.
Thank you for the story, it touched my heart, it must have been such a memorable moment!

 
At 5:20 AM, Blogger griffin29 said...

God Bless Our Troops And Chaplins. Our U.S. Troops, Be Safe And Come Home To Us. Believe In Yourself Because We Do! GodSpeed!

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger iwiLetter.com said...

wow, 1 year ago today. Great to read, thanks Jim.

It's for men and women like those in that auditorium that iwiLetter.com (send real letters, write online) is offering our free month of service all May. iwiLetter.com salutes US Military personnel and their families with our Free "Memorial Day Mail Call" - iwiLetter.com/Military. Send letters home, or from home to soldiers, for free during the month of May!

Sorry to come across as promoting iwiLetter.com here, but we are! We want as many US Military personnel and families to know they can send free letters during May! Thanks for all you are doing!

 
At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an inspiring story. I pray every day for our men & women in the military and their support personnel, that they can identify and avoid the attacks and traps set by the enemy, and that they can come home soon after successfully completing theit missions.
Later ... STEVE
===============

 
At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt impressed to comment to you on this subject. My children attend a charter school in Draper Utah, K-9 ... not only would our students have stood and waited with respect but they would have sang the 2nd verse as well... our students learn to appreciate and respect the freedoms that we have and soldiers that fight for us. just a positive light on the children of our country ... we should expect no less form them!

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weare so grateful for what our military is doing to protect us! Thank you for this beautiful story and for keeping us safe! :-)

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the email account is still circulating the internet. You might consider an icon or something on your blog home page to let folks know this is a true story. i found you, others will.

and, thank you for your service!!

m46opie@yahoo.com

 
At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF? How can this come to a surprise to so many people??? The warriors that fight the enemies are not some unique freak of nature that our country has spawned. These are the kids next door, down the street, and around town.

I retired a c ouple months ago, 21+ years. Throughout that entire period, two combat tours - Somalia and Iraq...we were taught by our Drill Sergeants and as we grew, we led our new troopers.

Folks, this should be a tradition of every American. If you are shocked or moved...try to give a little back to my brothers adn sisters. Yes, I called them "my" borthers and sisters because it sure seems to me that a lot of Americans are not as in tuned to our Nations values as our small population of service men and women are...

COME ON AMERICA - GET ON BOARD!!!

Then it will just be anotheer example of patriotism instead of such "a great thing to hear..."

 
At 5:28 AM, Blogger cookie60 said...

My husband, youngest daughter and myself had the honor and priviledge to visit our eldest daughter, her husband (A Marine)and two grandsons, in Weisbaden, Germany in June. Her husband is serving there. We, too went to a 'large auditorium' on base for a showing of the new Indiana Jones movie. I was not aware that the national anthem was played at the beginnng of movies. The kids were all a buzz with anticipation of watching Indy do his thing! (I was too!) I can tell you I was just THRILLED to be in that group of service men, women and their families. I think every child and teen instantly stopped talking and moving to stand up and regard the moment - they stood, hats removed and hands on heart! I commented how beautiful it was to see and be part of this.

Back home in the states we are regular attendants at high school events. Though the national anthem was played at the start of each, many stood, removed hats, etc. but too, too many just sat and paid no attention. Sadly, it was most times the parents themselves who modelled this offensive behavior for their children. Thus, to have the honor to stand with my family and all the other families while in Weisbaden, Germany - it started our visit off with great character and honor. What a PRIVILEDGE!! God Bless America!!!

 
At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Monica said...

God Bless America! The only thing that is "utterly sickening" (read prior comments) is that some Americans don't bat an eye at the National Anthem. Those are the same ones who really need to stand in the middle of a military cemetery (or any... most have loads of vets buried there)and declare "I am not worthy!" My body quivers and I can't fight back tears during this anthem,and it's not just because my spouse is an Individual Augmentee (I.A. - recalled to active duty from Reserves) who is deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. It's not even because me and my three kids miss him dearly and that they will be without their dad for almost two full school years! It's because I LOVE THE USA AND COULDN'T BE MORE PROUD OF OUR MILITARY! Someone once said (sang) "Teach your children well". I am so ashamed to find out how many have no desire or appreciation to teach their own kids what patriotism is, let alone sacrifice. God Bless our military, our veterans, our military families, and especially our military children! Patriotism... PASS IT ON!! (It is evident that we need it these days, especially in civilian environments. Please do it for IA families like ours!)
With gratitude & understanding, Monica

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful touching story.
We as Americans should be very proud of our servicemen and women.

 
At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this moving story about our wonderful military personnel. We are a military family who is in awe of these fine men and women who are serving our nation and our world today to keep the enemy at bay. God bless them everyone. It is not an easy task. Let us all encourage and thank them every chance we have. I thank God for them and pray for their safe return to their love ones. JF

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place."

Your lack of respect for the average stateside 18-22 year saddens me. When the National Anthem play my son stands at attention, places his hand on his heart and sings softly.

It is sad you had to ruin such an inspiring passage with such an ugly picture of the average American 18-22 year old.

 
At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Proud of our soldiers said...

Dear Anonymous, I'm glad your son is a credit to his generation. If you read some of the previous posts, you will know just how unusual he is. The "average" American would indeed would indeed be part of that ugly picture. Kudos to you for raising an exceptional young man.

 
At 1:33 PM, Blogger Jason V said...

What an outstanding story! It's things like this that make me proud to be an American! From a veteran of two tours to Afghanistan, I know the joys and pains of long deployments and how things like this make it all worthwhile. You guys keep your head up and come home safely! We're all praying for ya!

 
At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Sactogirl said...

I find it funny that every single negative comment posted here were all anonymous; especially "utterly sickening". Shame on you for bringing down this inspirational-to-many story. However, the overwhelming positive response is awesome!! God bless our service men AND women, and their families (for those few of you that mentioned our men only. Don't forget her-our women are out there too).
Jul

 
At 6:17 PM, Anonymous taebo training said...

soldiers have always been brave men and worthy of much admiration, of course I deserve respect, are those who defend our country with pride, I found very nice your story

 
At 7:10 PM, Anonymous teeter hang ups said...

a letter is very true, this experience is not unique, I have several friends that were military and I can say that they are a distinct personality perosnas normal!

 
At 9:35 PM, Anonymous teething symptoms said...

soldiers are the bravest people in the world, really leave your family, your friends, all you have in your life to go to defend your country is something few would do, is impressive!

 
At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Aretha said...

Earning money online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home