Rule 1:  There is always time for the National Anthem.  Every event should start with a prayer followed by either the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance.

Corollary 1 to Rule 1:  Everyone should know the words to Star Spangled Banner’s first verse. If you don’t know the words by heart, just look below. Memorize them. They are on the test.

Corollary 2 to Rule 1:  It is always proper to sing along with the National Anthem and to cheer wildly after the word “waive” (see the lyrics below with stage instruction included). If it is a small room with just a few participants and the singer is acapella (without music), it is OK to wait until “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet waive” to start singing along. This rule holds true even if you are a horrible singer. If you are horrible, then sing loudly so that others will instinctively sing even louder to cover up your singing.

Corollary 3 to Rule 1:  It is ok to tear up whenever this song is sung or played–especially when it is well sung, sung by little kids, or when the whole damn stadium sings along and cheers.

Here is the video where presidential candidate Donald Trump demonstrated this point in California of all places. Even if you hate Trump, even if you think he is just pandering to the Right, the singer and the crowd aren’t faking it. God Bless America!

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave [Cheer Here]
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?