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The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem

Conveying universally recognizable national codes, state symbols unite society, regardless of the governing authorities or dominant ideology. All over the world, national anthems and flags have become the most meaningful and understandable means of intra-state and international communication, reflecting attitudes and perceptions of various social groups. However, today, in the United States, some individuals’ refusals to stand while listening to the national anthem undermine moral foundations and negatively influences patriotism inherent in the American nation as a whole.

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In the United States, standing for the national anthem before the start of a game is a grand tradition that symbolizes respect for people who gave their lives to protect the freedom and independence of the country (Refusing to Stand”). However, today’s debates on American citizens’ behavior during the anthem execution originated in Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016 (Refusing to Stand”). The famous football player justified his behavior by referring to glaring facts of racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.

Although “The Star-Spangled Banner” was established as the national anthem in 1931, it was created by Francis Scott Key in 1814. The anthem history is inextricably linked with the national flag. Being impressed by a proudly fluttering flag, Francis Key wrote the first lines of the anthem. The fact that the national anthem has survived many historical cataclysms testifies to its enduring value that does not tarnish from time. For many years, the anthem has inspired the Americans to feats, dedication, and devotion to their multinational motherland. Thus, Kaepernick’s behavior is a manifestation of extreme neglect and disrespect for historically rooted national traditions.

Standing for the national anthem does not imply blind love for the government or the president. It does not mean unconditional acceptance of everything that happens in American society, as well. Instead, this act is an expression of the entire nation’s solidarity, patriotism, respect for historical roots and values, and readiness for positive changes in the name of common goals and prospective improvements.

In any country throughout the world, an anthem is a national symbol of paramount importance. For instance, in India, the national anthem is performed in all cinemas and accompanied by images of the Indian flag; every spectator must stand while listening to the anthem. In Japan, honoring the anthem by standing up is the duty of every citizen. The Chinese sing their anthem while standing for it. All national anthems are permeated with citizens’ love for their homeland, faith, and hope that their country will occupy a rightful place in the global community. Involving hidden or explicit meanings, national symbols have always shaped the identity of citizens and transformed individuals of different races and ethnicities into a united nation. As well as other state symbols, the national anthem ensures the processes of national identity formation, harmonizes the existence of communities, enhances communication links, reifies cultural values, and acts as a tool and result of social interactions.

The refusal to stand for the national anthem is evidence of a person’s irrelevant patriotism. Patriotism is a personal characteristic that reflects an individual’s worldview maturity, moral conviction, and value orientation. Consisting of the national emblem, the flag, and the anthem, the symbolic state triad comprehensively influences patriotism development, synthesizing emotions caused by music with words and visual representation of the national history.

In the United States, national and ethnic minorities are granted rights and freedoms equal to other Americans. Therefore, the so-called protest of Colin Kaepernick against racial injustice seems groundless and contrived, bordering on the desire to attract attention or ordinary self-advertising. Furthermore, the fact that Kaepernick is an African American by origin refutes his allegations. What is more, the United States provided him with all possible opportunities to engage and advance in his favorite sport, irrespective of his race. Contrary to the unconvincing argumentation of his refusal, the national anthem unites individuals from various ethnic groups and consolidates the society at symbolic, emotional, and behavioral levels.

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Undoubtedly, social issues do exist in today’s American society, as well as in any other country. In accordance with the First Amendment, Americans have the right to peaceful protest. However, instead of aggravating problems by neglecting the national symbols, Colin Kaepernick and his followers can contribute to the elimination of problems via more appropriate steps. Given his successful career in football, he is able to establish cooperation with various American social agencies in order to promote equality and nullify discrimination by launching peaceful and effective campaigns. Colin Kaepernick’s actions are associated with increased antagonism, ethnicity-grounded confrontations, social division, and disrupted interactions within the society.

Summing up, the United States’ national symbols in general and the anthem, in particular, are determinants of the consolidation of all citizens, irrespective of their race and nationality. Furthermore, the national anthem has become the embodiment of Americans’ patriotism and devotion to their country. Therefore, actions similar to Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” create barriers to social cohesion, generate contradictions, and exacerbate existing issues.

Work Cited

“Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem: Top 3 Pros and Cons.” ProCon.org, 2017. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 2). The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-united-states-national-symbols-and-the-anthem/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 2). The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem. https://studycorgi.com/the-united-states-national-symbols-and-the-anthem/

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"The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem." StudyCorgi, 2 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/the-united-states-national-symbols-and-the-anthem/.

1. StudyCorgi. "The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem." January 2, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-united-states-national-symbols-and-the-anthem/.


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StudyCorgi. "The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem." January 2, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-united-states-national-symbols-and-the-anthem/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem." January 2, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-united-states-national-symbols-and-the-anthem/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The United States’ National Symbols and the Anthem'. 2 January.

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