The 'hat police' and what it means to respect the flag

My father was the "hat police."

He loved football games for the contest of finely honed athletes vying over a virtually valueless shred of pigskin.  But the real game came before the game.  When the Stars and Stripes were unfurled and the National Anthem soared from the pipes of virtuosi, you stood and removed your hat, or else Big Hank would knock it off your head.  Hank would tell you in no uncertain terms what that hat, and that flag, and that anthem meant to him and to his brothers in arms, as well as to the future of every man, woman, and child in that arena.  Hats in hand, no one ever defied Big Hank.

Hank, of course, was the Greatest Generation.  If he were still with us, he'd be pushing 100 but hardly shrinking from his mission to defend the America he protected and loved.  If players ever extended their protests by refusing to take the field, you can bet that Big Hank and his brothers would run out there to take on all comers.  If the Germans and their panzers couldn't stop the Greatest Generation, the NFL and their pansies would have no chance.

My father was the "hat police."

He loved football games for the contest of finely honed athletes vying over a virtually valueless shred of pigskin.  But the real game came before the game.  When the Stars and Stripes were unfurled and the National Anthem soared from the pipes of virtuosi, you stood and removed your hat, or else Big Hank would knock it off your head.  Hank would tell you in no uncertain terms what that hat, and that flag, and that anthem meant to him and to his brothers in arms, as well as to the future of every man, woman, and child in that arena.  Hats in hand, no one ever defied Big Hank.

Hank, of course, was the Greatest Generation.  If he were still with us, he'd be pushing 100 but hardly shrinking from his mission to defend the America he protected and loved.  If players ever extended their protests by refusing to take the field, you can bet that Big Hank and his brothers would run out there to take on all comers.  If the Germans and their panzers couldn't stop the Greatest Generation, the NFL and their pansies would have no chance.

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