President Donald Trump, upset about the growing silent protest by NFL players who kneel during pre-game performances of the national anthem, had a question for the crowd at an Alabama political rally over the weekend.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of those NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b---h off the field right now, out,’”? he asked. “He’s fired,” he said wistfully. “He’s fired!”
It made us wonder: If knowledge of proper flag and anthem etiquette suddenly became a job requirement, would U.S. unemployment suddenly skyrocket?
How much do Americans know about their most recognizable national symbol and the song that celebrates it?
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Test your anthem awareness and flag fitness with our quiz. Answers appear at the end.
1. The practice of kneeling for the national anthem was started by Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 season, when he was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He was protesting:
a) the disparity in pay between players in the NFL and those in the NBA.
b) lack of concern by the league over players’ risk for concussions.
c) police brutality against people of color.
2. The national anthem, written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, was first referred to as, “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” What is its proper name today?
a) “Stars and Stripes Forever”
b) “The Star-Spangled Banner”
c) “Ragged Old Flag”
3. The anthem, which celebrated the U.S. victory over British troops trying to take Baltimore during the War of 1812, was, ironically, set to the music of a song popular in English pubs. That tune was:
a) “Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer”
b) “To Anacreon in Heaven”
c) “Blow the Man Down”
d) “My Shot”
4. Most public performances of the anthem include only the first verse. How many verses are there?
5. The anthem is a challenge for many Americans to sing because:
a) the language is arcane.
b) no one can remember all the words.
c) it ranges across one and a half octaves.
d) all of the above.
6. What is believed to be the first occasion of the national anthem being sung at a sporting event?
a) the 1918 World Series, between the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, when the band cranked up during the seventh inning.
b) at halftime in the first AFL-NFL World Championship, in 1967, between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
c) at the end of a three-inning baseball game between the “New York Club” and the “Brooklyn Club” on Oct. 22, 1845.
7. Frances Scott Key was a slaveholding lawyer from a Maryland plantation family. When he penned the line, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” whose freedom was he celebrating?
a) all Americans’; he was secretly an abolitionist.
b) whites’ only; he held the racist belief that Africans in America were “a distinct and inferior race of people.”
8. Key wrote the song after watching the 25-hour siege by the British on Fort McHenry and seeing, the next morning, the American flag above the fort. The flag, now on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, was made by:
a) Maj. George Armistead, garrison commander at Fort McHenry.
b) Betsy Ross.
c) Mary Pickersgill.
9. In 1942, Congress passed federal laws regarding flag etiquette and proper conduct involving the national anthem. True or False: Violators can face imprisonment.
10. How many U.S. flags were taken to the moon by astronauts in the Apollo program?
11. Yes or No: According to the U.S. Code, Title 36, can the U.S. flag be used for advertising purposes?
12. During the playing of the national anthem, what are civilians in the audience supposed to do, according to the U.S. Code?
a) stand at attention and face the flag.
b) if male, remove hat.
c) place the right hand over the heart.
d) if there is no flag, face toward the music.
e) all of the above.
13. When does the U.S. code specify the flag should be flown?
a) every day, all hours.
b) every day, from sunrise to sunset.
c) every day, from sunrise to sunset, except in inclement weather (unless it’s a weather-resisitent flag) and after dark only with proper lighting.
1. c; 2. b; 3. b; 4. a; 5. d; 6. a; 7. b; 8. c; 9. False; 10. c; 11. No; 12. e; 13. c.