The national anthem used to be pretty routine: It was part of living in America, like loving apple pie and despising the IRS.
These days, of course, the Star-Spangled Banner has become a magnet for controversy.
With multi-millionaire NFL players taking a knee — disrespecting veterans and law enforcement in the process — and everyone from the president to shoe companies jumping into the fray, nothing seems simple anymore.
One person in a small city in Idaho may have just changed that.
A photo snapped on the 17th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks is going viral, and reminding people about a simpler time in America.
Before a girls’ soccer game in Caldwell, Idaho, the crowd faced a half-mast flag during the anthem … and in a field adjacent to the sports arena, a simply-dressed farmer stopped his work and parked his tractor to respectfully stand in unison.
“When the Farmer stops farming to stand for the national anthem at our soccer game,” posted a fan page of the Vallivue High School soccer team.
The simple post had over 28,000 shares on Facebook at the time of this article’s publication.
Caldwell is a town of about 46,000 people in Canyon County, Idaho. The city has a rich agricultural history that goes back to the late 1800’s.
At this time, not much is known about the farmer who decided to pause his work to respect the national anthem at the nearby school. He appears to be a young man, and his clean-cut appearance and bearing prompted several online commenters to wonder if he had served in the military.
It was a simple gesture, but one that stands in stark contrast against the self-absorbed preening of professional athletes today. While protesters in the NFL seem to seek attention from cameras, the farmer in the viral photo most likely had no idea that he was captured in the shot by a long-range lens.
In a lot of ways, he perfectly represents the heartland America that so many of us know: hardworking, honest, patriotic.
That heartland is the backbone of our country, yet is seen as “flyover country” by far too many elitists. While politicians and busy-bodies are trying to tell the rest of the country what to do, they could learn a few things by getting their hands dirty in places like Idaho.
Maybe instead of obsessing over Nike shoes, we should be more interested in mud-caked work boots.
Maybe instead of watching over-payed athletes compete for attention on Sunday, we should cheer on local football teams on Friday nights or support girls’ soccer teams in places like Caldwell.
On a day of remembrance like 9/11, it’s worth reflecting on the people who make our country truly great. They’re more likely to be wearing blue jeans and T-shirts than printed sports jerseys. There are slices of this America all around us, we’ve just forgotten to look.
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