U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Sing the National Anthem in a Movie Theater-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor is identified as from a U.S. military chaplain in Iraq.  He explains that the National Anthem is played before every film in a military theater while soldiers stand at attention.  The chaplain describes an incident in Iraq when the National Anthem was playing before “Superman 3.”  One-thousand soldiers were all standing at attention but the recording stopped.  They all continued to stand at attention.  The music started again, but stopped again.  Then one of them started singing and the others joined in to complete the Anthem.  The chaplain contrasts that response to what might have happened in a typical theater in the United States and comments, ” I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here.”

The Truth:

This story is true.

It’s from the pen of Army Reserve Chaplain Jim Higgins who, when he is not deployed, is Senior Pastor of McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church, located in Powder Springs, Georgia. 

This event took place in May, 2007 while he was stationed at Camp Anaconda, which is a large U.S. base near Balad, one of the largest airbases in Iraq.

Updated 4/25/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

For those who are unaware, at a military theater, the National Anthem is played before every movie.

From a Chaplain in Iraq:

I recently attended a showing of ‘Superman 3,’ here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem the music stopped.

Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments; and everyone would d sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place. Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen?

Even here I would imagine laughter, as everyone finally sat down and expected the movie to start. But here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice , then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off:’ And the rockets red glare, The bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night That our flag was still there. Oh, say d does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free, And the home of the brave.’

It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here. Remember them as they fight for you! Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. For many have already paid the ultimate price.

Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins
LSA Anaconda is at the Ballad Airport in Iraq, north of Baghdad