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The retired Marine who sang “God Bless America” last night was not a retired Marine

Oct 24, 2013, 5:27 PM EDT

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 5.25.25 PM

Which isn’t to say he was a fraud or anything like that. The man who sang “God Bless America” during last night’s game was a Marine and he had permission from the Marines to wear the uniform. And, based on his back story — he’s a former state trooper who served with distinction — he seems like a fine man.

But as Deadspin reports today, he was not a “retired” Marine as that term is typically employed. And, all things being equal, he should not have been permitted to wear his Marine uniform due to the regulations which attach to Marines who have separated from service. It’s an interesting read, so go check it out.

My view: this is the result, I think, of the extreme level of militarism and patriotism to the point of jingoism that has come to characterize Major League Baseball’s big events. It’s become such an imperative in the minds of the league that they — or whoever allowed this — is now willing to risk skirting the normal rules of military decorum in order to have a guy in uniform on the field snapping a salute in dress blues. As if it would be awful to not have a uniformed serviceman sing a song.  As Deadspin’s story makes clear, though, the league does so at the cost of ticking off some Marine veterans, and at some point we have to ask ourselves if we’ve gone overboard with this stuff.

Tonight: The Anthem and “America the Beautiful” (which should be the Anthem in my view and is way better than “God Bless America”) will be sung by James Taylor. Let me preempt all of tomorrow’s controversy, though, by getting it out there: though he will likely be described as a “singer/songwriter” tonight, two of his biggest hits were written by Carole King and the Holland, Dozier, Holland songwriting team, respectively.

  1. jm91rs - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Let’s not forget that the us military is happy to have the attention as well. It’s not a big deal to skirt the rules for a little advertising for the marines

  2. ddjesus - Oct 24, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Golly that was a big potato. Guess this “maggot” really struck a chord with your sensitive, sexist self! If a Marine can’t take some ribbing, can he be trusted to take on incoming gunfire?

  3. Joe - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    “at some point we have to ask ourselves if we’ve gone overboard with this stuff”

    Yes, but that point was about ten years ago, or better yet, the moment somebody decided it would be a good idea.

  4. realbkw - Jul 27, 2015 at 2:22 AM

    I’ll have to go and check out the backstory. I kind of got a feeling something was off the way he “warmed up” and the fact he had no ribbons on his uniform. His warm-up was too show-busineesy and show-offy. Very un-marinealike. They just aren’t into drawing attention to themselves like that.

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