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There’s nothing wrong with Chicago anthem tradition

I don’t why this is being brought up now -- unless he never thought about it until Sunday’s game on NBC -- but one Detroit blogger is unhappy with the tradition that takes place at every game at the United Center: the fans cheering their heads off during the Star-Spangled Banner.

In case you didn’t know, this is something that has been going on at all Chicago games since the 1980’s. During the anthem for the 1991 All-Star Game, the Chicago crowd showcased their pride and enthusiasm in front of a national audience. Yet Rob Otto is unhappy with it and believes it should stop.

I understand it is a very difficult song, and many Americans feel embarrassed to sing it in public. However, if you’re not signing you should at least stand in silent reverence until it is completed.

The Chicago fans are doing the exact opposite.

Their argument is that they are being more patriotic -- that yelling and screaming makes them a part of the anthem instead of just being a silent bystander. I am not buying it.

First of all, I don’t believe for one second that Americans are embarrassed to sing the anthem in public. In fact, there is no greater tradition than joining in with other fans in singing along before a sports game, and I love it each time. Is the cheering during the anthem in Chicago different? Of course, but I don’t believe it to be as offensive as it’s being made out to be.

Full disclosure: I’ve spent the past ten years in the United States Navy. I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of patriotism across this country over that time, and I have no issue whatsoever with what the fans are doing in Chicago. They’re not disrespecting our country or the anthem; in fact, it’s refreshing to see Americans still taking an active role and being patriotic. I’m personally tired of how passive we are during a time that is meant for reverence and patriotism and I wish more people would take an active role in the anthem. Whether that’s enthusiastically singing along or cheering on your country while it’s being performed, I’m all for it.

I don’t want to turn this into a political debate, but if the worse thing we’re doing is cheering during the anthem then we must be doing something right.