WASHINGTON — We've heard from President Trump on what is proper behavior when the national anthem is played.
Now we may hear from Congress, too.
Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn filed a resolution on Monday reminding Americans that federal law offers guidance — albeit not a mandate enforced by criminal penalties — on how they should behave during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner.
“If you’ve been watching all of the controversy about how people conduct themselves during the national anthem, guess what?” the Republican congresswoman says in a video posted on her Facebook page. “How you conduct yourself is actually in federal statute.”
Indeed, it is.
Section 301(b) of title 36 of the U.S. code says that when the national anthem is played, Armed Services members in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the song and maintain that position until the last note.
Armed Forces members and veterans who are present but not in uniform may do the same.
And the rest of us?
“All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”
Blackburn’s resolution is intended to reinforce those instructions.
The controversy over what is appropriate behavior during the playing of the national anthem was re-ignited over the weekend by President Trump, who during a campaign rally in Alabama used an expletive to describe NFL players who sit or kneel during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner.
The movement started last season with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the anthem as a peaceful protest for racial equality.
Football players have since protested the president's comments, and subsequent tweets in which he argued that the NFL should make players stand for the national anthem. Several players kneeled or locked arms on Sunday, while three teams skipped the anthem all together.