Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

March 25, 2010

A moment of change done well

Some people put their hand over their heart. Others stood silent as they faced the fluttering American flag. A few remained seated with their heads bowed. Life went on.

For the first time since Goshen College was founded more than 100 years ago and began playing intercollegiate sports more than 50 years ago, school officials raised an American flag and played the national anthem before a campus event. It’s a practice that is common at most other sporting venues ranging from high school through the pros, but not here at this small, 1,000-student college rooted in pacifist Mennonite beliefs.



This newspaper believes deeply in respecting and honoring the veterans who helped establish and then protect the many rights we enjoy today. Therefore, we are always pleased to hear the national anthem before sporting events. At the same time, we were never offended not to hear the anthem before GC events. In our eyes that is one of the rights that makes America so great and was fought for among all the others.

Some may see multiple contradictions in that, but we see it as a balance. Goshen College has the right to argue its point and those with opposing views have the right to argue theirs. The Star-Spangled Banner may be the official anthem of America, but it is not mandated that it be played before sporting events or other gatherings. That is a gesture that picked up steam during World War II when Major League Baseball owners began playing it before games. Again, we feel that is a fine gesture and worthy practice.

Both GC Public Relations Director Richard Aguirre and President Jim Brenneman called the national anthem debate a complex issue for the college and its pacifist traditions and beliefs. Why else would the college devote nearly two years of discussion to the matter before Tuesday’s 3½-minute premiere performance?

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