Sunday, July 4, 2010

The 4th of July: When the Music Stopped

The 4th of July is the celebration of the birth of our nation--our independence,  it's also one of my favorite holidays of the year. Today we'll proudly display the American flag, spend the day with family and friends, cook out, and watch spectacular shows of fireworks. For me, the 4th is also a reminder that without the sacrifices of our brave men and women in our military (past and present) we wouldn't be experiencing the freedoms we so often take for granted. When I received the following as an e-mail recently from a friend, I thought it would be the perfect post to share with our readers today here on Murder By 4. I hope it will touch you as much as it touched me.

Happy July 4 to all! God Bless America and all of our troops serving throughout the world.

The following message was written by Chaplain Jim Higgins LSA Anaconda is at the Ballad Airport in Iraq, north of Baghdad.
For those who are unaware: At all military base theaters, the National Anthem is played before the movie begins.

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 at all military bases, we stood to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going well until 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 sit down and yell for the movie to begin. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.

Here in Iraq , 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again and the Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. But again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect 1000 Soldiers standing at attention to do?? Frankly, I expected some laughter, and everyone would eventually sit down and wait for the movie to start.

But No!!... You could have heard a pin drop, while every Soldier continued to stand at attention.

Suddenly, there was a lone voice from the front of the auditorium, then a dozen voices, and soon 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 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 in Iraq and wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you. Remember them as they fight for us!

Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. Many have already paid the ultimate price.

About the author:

Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. Her books are available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website.

THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (2008), Bronze Medal Finalist, 2009 IPPY Awards, Top Ten, 2008 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

SILENCED CRY (2007) Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival,Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

Visit Sam Harper at


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Marta, I love this piece. Thanks for posting it!!

s.w. vaughn said...

This is a great anecdote - love it! Hope everyone had a very happy Independence Day. :-)

Dawn Anon said...

Nice. Thank you. As i am reading blogs... between chores that include packing to go to my son's welcome home ceremoney, this is a great blog to come across!!!! So many folks do not appreciate what our military folks go through for their country. And the commitment they have to our country.