Youthful acts of respect give this cynic a glimmer of hope

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

Due to the disgraceful actions of our country’s leadership and the growing anti-American sentiment coming from our nation’s own citizens, cynicism has taken a strong hold on me. This causes quite the inner paradox as I’m inherently a forever optimist who can find the positive in any situation. And even though my cynicism has all but taken over, my deep seeded optimis     got a shot of life from the most unlikely of places, teenagers. Teenagers normally get a bad reputation, but the acts of utmost respect carried out by two separate groups has given me hope that all respect is not lost.

Just this past week in Bullock Creek, Michigan, a photo was snapped of four young men when they stopped in the middle of a parking lot to show respect for the national anthem and American flag. They were late arriving to a football game when the national anthem began to play inside the stadium. Even though they were still in the parking lot that did not stop them from putting on a powerful display of respect and American pride. As the national anthem played they immediately stopped, came to attention and put their hats over their hearts.

The gentleman that caught these respectful young men on camera was so moved by the act he shared his picture online with the caption, “I felt the need to take a picture, these days you don’t get many moments where you feel pride, and teens do get a bad rep.” One of the boys told CBS News that is the way he was raised and that he wants to thank everyone that has fought and is fighting to protect our nation. His actions, along with those of his friends, were the ultimate “thank yous” and show-of-respect. These young men stopped what they were doing to show their sincere respect for our country, and those who have fought and died for it. That’s how they were raised, but it goes to show the content of their character.

The wonderful demonstration carried out by the Michigan teens goes to show that there are those in the younger generations that understand and show true respect. This led the optimist in me to think — if there is one group that gets it on that level then there must be more. That’s when I remembered reading a story earlier this year about another group of teenagers who caused a very good ruckus by doing what they had been taught and knew to be right.  

In Denham Springs, Louisiana a group of teenagers were playing a pick-up basketball game when they noticed a funeral procession about to pass. In the middle of their game all of the kids on the court immediately stopped and took a knee to show respect to the procession and the family that lost a loved one. Just like in the first instance, there were bystanders who took pictures and videos of the respectful youths. There is a very moving photo of the boys all on a knee as the funeral procession passes.

The pictures and videos went viral and spread all over the country for millions of people to see the heartfelt display of respect. Now that’s something that millions of people need to see and something people should hear about. Even the smallest act of kindness and respect can make a huge impact on those it affects, and these teens showed millions of Americans just how it’s done.      

It has been said that the truest test of a person’s character is what they do when no one is watching. In both instances I’m glad someone was watching and was able to take a photo as they were both uplifting sights to see. There is so much disrespect among people, toward our nation, our flag, our traditions and our laws — most of it from adults. It was so refreshing to see the youth of our country remind us just what priorities are important. It sure gives this cynic a glimmer of hope.