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Respect the U.S. national anthem

I have been a soldier for the past 16 years in the U.S. Army, and am currently assigned here at MIT ROTC to educate future leaders for the U.S. Army. On April 23d, at about 2 p.m., my Unit along with all other ROTC units at MIT were conducting a practice for our Pass and Review Ceremony on the Barry Astroturf Field. We had an Air Force band playing music for the ceremony. The iFair (International Fair) was taking place in the grassy area next to Kresge Auditorium a short distance away, and was also playing music.

I went to the iFair and was approached by four people, who appeared to be international students, in charge of the event. To prevent interference with the Air Force band, I requested that they not turn off their music, but instead redirect the speakers away from the Astroturf field. One of these individuals then asked when we would play the National Anthem so they could completely turn off the music. Unfortunately I could not give an exact time, only a general time range.

Without further prompting, they voluntarily turned off the music during the playing of our National Anthem as a measure of respect and resumed playing music only after the national anthem was complete. While our National Anthem was playing, I saw a group of people who appeared to be students from the United States based on their accents and language, who were playing Frisbee in the Henry Steinbrenner Stadium and Track. This group did not react to the national anthem, even though it was clearly audible across the field.

I think it is a shame that people born and raised in the United States of America do not take the approximately 1 minute and 37 seconds to pause and honor those that have come before us. I ask that when you hear the national anthem being played that you give the same respects that you would take at the beginning of any sporting event. I would like to thank all of those who organized the iFair for reminding me why I serve in the U.S. Army and why I am very proud to do so.

—Adam L. Cook

Sgt. 1st Class, US Army

MIT Army ROTC