Who would have ever thought that a hockey game would be remembered more for something that happened before the puck even dropped? And it wasn’t a fight either – but the national anthem prior to the Bruins-Sabres game at TD Garden on Wednesday night showed us all what it means to stand together when it’s needed most.
Rene Rancourt has been singing the national anthem at Bruins games for decades now. The moment was always his. Well after the bombings at the Boston Marathon, Rancourt gave that moment to the city and the nation. And it was great. During the opening lines of our Star-Spangled Banner, Rancourt implored fans with his hands to join in and sing with him. And join in they did. Almost 18,000 people sang our anthem in unison. It went viral immediately. People said it gave them tears. It moved them. It brought us all together. And I think that is great.
But I will take it one step further. I have a deeper appreciation for our anthem than most people. I have served in our military for almost 15 years. I have done two combat tours. I have heard the national anthem in varying events that are both devastating and entertaining. I have saluted the flag during the anthem and I’ve held my hand over my heart. I have stayed silent and I have sung every word. It just saddens me that it takes the tragedy that was the 2013 Boston Marathon to cause people to sing a song that they have known the words to since childhood. That is the way the anthem should be sung EVERY time it is played, at every event. If people did that, maybe bad things would happen less often because we all would stand together in defense of each other.
I don’t want to take anything away from what happened and what it meant to the fans, the city and the people of Boston. It was great to watch and probably even more impressive to be a part of. I can only hope that people will now start to sing our anthem that way all the time.
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