Friday, April 29, 2011

Foreign Friday

On-base housing
Bachelor Officer Quarters (BOQ)
April 1980

My BOQ was directly across from base headquarters and the base flag poles. The flags are at half-staff to honor the service men killed during Operation Eagle Claw.

Throughout the year, flags were lowered daily at 4 PM. During the ceremony, the national anthems of Japan and the United States were played over the public address system and could be heard all over the base. Everything, and I mean everything, on base stopped during that time: vehicles pulled over to the side of the road and pedestrians stopped in their tracks and faced the flag poles even if they were blocks away and the flags were not visible. I always got goose bumps when I heard the anthems.

The Star-Spangled Banner was also played before movies in base theaters, and everyone in the theater stood at attention. One time the recording stopped abruptly, and without hesitation everyone began singing where it left off.

I left Japan with more respect for my country and those who sacrifice to protect her.


  1. I loved reading about this and listening to both anthems.

  2. When we lived in El Paso they would also fire the cannon when the flags were raised and lowered. It was way cool.

  3. Most of us could use a few lessons and a lot more experiences.

  4. I think just living in another country makes you appreciate your own more :)


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