When you live or work on an Air Force Base there are three things that happen without fail. Our day starts at 7 a.m. with the rousing sound of Reverie and our day ends with the beautifully haunting notes of Taps at 9 p.m. These two songs are part of the cadence of our days, woven seamlessly into the other sounds of our lives…the engine runs, the “big voice” during exercises, the laughter of children on playgrounds, train whistles, crickets on a hot summer night.
But it’s the 5 o’clock hour that everyone is the most aware of. At 5, as the flag is lowered for the day, the National Anthem is played. We’re expected to stop our cars, our children stop mid-play and put their hands over their hearts, military members who are outside stop and stand at attention. All conversation ceases. Our lives pause for those few minutes as we pay respect to our flag and to the country whose freedoms we hold so dear.
In this commander’s house even our dogs know what happens at this hour. We often walk and feed them at five so the anthem always means dinner time! The music starts playing and in a Pavlovian state, the drool starts flowing. However, if I happen to feed them just a bit early and we are already out and on our post dinner walk, this is what occurs….
Xavier promptly sits down as the first notes of the anthem play….lifts his head….
You just gotta love this Air Force dog!