I wasn’t at the Battle of Bristol this past weekend. But my social media feed was flooded with images of my friends camped out in RVs decked out in University of Tennessee orange and engaging in all sorts of tailgating revelry often associated with college football. It’s southern college football at its best. 

The Battle at Bristol is what you get when you cross two southern college football teams playing on a NASCAR track located at the corner of TN and VA. Tennessee and Virginia Tech went head to head while 156,990 zealous fans watched from the grandstands. 

But it wasn’t the sheer fandom of the SEC that made me proudest to be TN Vol alum. What brought tears to my eyes and still brings cold chills to my arms is seeing the wave of people belt the National Anthem with unbridled patriotism. That NASCAR stadium was turned into a red, white, and blue coliseum. 

Watch it right here and tell me you aren’t proud to be an American. 

Video and feature image courtesy YouTube

Colin Kaepernic’s decision to protest by not standing during the National Anthem is causing all kinds of buzz. And I do agree that it is his right to engage in peaceful protest, but it’s also my right to salute that American Flag every time I see it fly. I’m pretty sure the people at the Battle of Bristol don’t agree with Kaepernic’s stance, either. 

My great-grandfather stayed alive during WWI by eating stolen turnips from a farmer’s field in France. Let that soak in. Out of respect of him and all the other brave souls I will stand during the National Anthem.

People have lost their lives, their limbs, and their minds in defense of our great country. 

In fact, Francis Scott Key was moved to write the words, to what was to become known as the Star-Spangled Banner, after America prevailed an arduous battle. It was way back in 1814. The War of 1812 was waging. Washington D.C. had just been torched. The British took a friend of Key’s hostage and Key went aboard a vessel on the Chesapeake Bay to negotiate his freedom. But before they could leave vessel Fort McHenry was attacked. For 25 hours a battle of epic proportions waged. Key was sure the British had prevailed. The night sky was aglow with cannon fire and mortar shells. But as the dawn broke Key saw the American flag flying over the fort. Those stars and stripes were flying high. America had stood its ground. 

And I’m pretty sure that when the dust settles of all this current madness associated with the protest of the National Anthem that Old Glory will still be flying high. The America that I know and love has stood its ground on this issue. Our flag is still flying and we still love our country. 

Looking back the story of the Battle of Bristol isn’t that the Vols won the coveted game against the Hokies, it’s that patriotism prevailed. College football fans know this much to be true. 

Sarah Philpott

Sarah Philpott Ph.D lives in the south east on a sprawling cattle farm where she raises her two mischievous children (with one on the way!) and is farm wife to her high school sweetheart. A former teacher, she now spends this season of her life cleaning peanut butter & jelly off the counter, dreaming of traveling the world, hosting “get-togethers” for her family & friends, and chasing her kids around the farm. Sarah is represented by The Blythe Daniel Literary Agency. You can visit with Sarah at her http://allamericanmom.net/ blog where she writes about cultivating a life of down-home simplicity. She also has a passion for helping women cope with pregnancy loss.