What would you say if I told you that you need to obtain a permit to sing our national anthem?
What would you say if I told you that school students who burst out singing the national anthem because they feel patriotic and do it as a tribute to Americans who died, were told to stop singing because they failed to obtain a permit?
That’s exactly what happened to the Waynesville Middle School chorus from North Carolina. The chorus was visiting the 9/11 Memorial last Wednesday. A group from the chorus asked a security guard for permission to sing the national anthem and the guard said it was okay.
However, as the chorus sang about bombs bursting in air, two other security guards approached the chorus and told them to stop singing.
It turns out that anyone wanting to sing on the grounds of the 9/11 Memorial must first obtain a permit before they are allowed to exercise their First Amendment right of free speech, and in this case, free singing. I wonder what lesson the young teens learned by all of this? Was it that patriotism isn’t allowed in New York or at national monuments? Was it that there are restrictions against exercising their First Amendment rights? I wonder if it had anything to do with New York’s reaction to the North Carolina bathroom bill? Possibly all of the above.
Trevor Putnam, Principal of Waynesville Middle School told the media:
“Basically they performed approximately half of the National Anthem, and they were told by security to cease and desist. And they, of course, complied immediately. Later, another security guard tells them ‘no, you can’t do that,’ and explained to them that they treat that as a burial site.”
Since when is the national anthem not allowed to be sung at a burial site? I would be honored to have anyone sing the national anthem at my burial site. No one can say, but I bet a number of those that died that tragic day, would also be honored to have anyone, especially patriotic minded middle schoolers sing the national anthem at their memorial.
Putnam went on to say:
“I hate that our kids didn’t get to finish.”
“If I’m having a bad day at school, I will go by there and listen to them sing. They have angelic voices and I love to hear them sing.”
Reaction from parents and residents of Waynesville also condemned the stoppage of the national anthem. Bill Bright told the media:
“I think that’s terrible, being a veteran and such.”
Marian Anderson told the media:
“That’s not right. That’s not a good way to promote patriotism.”
Another comment from an unidentified woman stated:
“We’re trying to instill the history of our country – the importance of our country – so why stop them from singing the National Anthem?”
Dustin Nelson took to Facebook and posted:
“So we can’t be Americans and show our respect to those fallen in an attack against our country? I was at one time in this chorus, we were always very respectful and just wanted to sing.”
Suzanne Hendrix commented:
“The National Anthem should be allowed to be played or sung in any public place. This is America, our country and everyone should be proud of it!”
One of my favorite comments came from Derek Campbell who stated:
“The government cannot fix I-26 in near 10 years, but will shut down signing kids in less than a minute.”
I wonder what would have happened had the chorus continued to sing the national anthem in its entirety? I know at that age, I would probably have done just that as I also sang in our junior high school chorus and was taught to be very patriotic to our nation and those that died in battle. Would they have arrested the chorus director or used physical force to stop the singing?
I would hope that every patriotic American would stand up in support of the Waynesville Middle School chorus. Contact the school and let them know that you support them and feel they have been mistreated. Contact your Representative and Senator and urge them to remove the permit requirement from the 911 Memorial. Americans should be allowed to their First Amendment right to sign the national anthem in honor of those that died.
Since when was the First Amendment amended to say one needs a permit to sing the national anthem? Read it for yourself!