The Vilonia Eagle baseball team, this week, were taught a lesson off the field regarding what is expected of them on the field and it has nothing to do with pitching, catching or making a home run.
If you are going to play baseball for the Eagles, Coach Brad Wallace told players they will show respect for the American flag and national anthem.
Lined up across the high school cafeteria, facing an American flag, the players practiced flag etiquette—how to stand properly, where to place their hats and hands—as well--they were told why the act is important.
Math teacher John Allison, who is also a Marine veteran, and Senator Eddie Joe Williams, an Army veteran, served as instructors. Stand tall when the anthem is played, hat off, face the flag, and put your right hand over your heart, Allison said. No talking during the pledge or during the playing of the national anthem, he added.
“I expect to see people respect the flag,” Allison said. “It breaks my heart at the lack of respect shown to the flag and the Star Spangled Banner.”
Both Allison and Williams talked about the sacrifices that have been made by soldiers. “This represents everything we believe in and I would die for it,” Williams said, referring to the flag. “This represents freedom, free speech, freedom of religion—or that you don’t have to go to church. People gave their life for what this flag is all about.”
In conclusion, Wallace told the team, he wants them to do more than just go through the motions when they salute the flag and listen to the national anthem. Stand tall and pay attention, Wallace said, and most important “think about the values and those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms. Think about these men’s words to you.”