Attention On Deck

One military tradition is standing to attention when an officer comes into the room or training setup. Hopefully(?) someone will be paying attention when the officer enters and will yell “Attention on deck!” Immediately, everyone will jump to their feet and assume the position of attention. The entering officer will say, “At ease”, or “As you were”, or something to enable the enlisted men to sit back down or stand easily. But, of course, they stay quiet and wait to hear what the officer has to say.

We see the same tradition in the courtroom when a judge enters. The bailiff calls out “All rise”, and the people assembled in the courtroom stand quietly as the judge sits on his judgement seat. Then the courtroom remains quiet, listening for the instructions of the judge.

Imagine the difference in the classrooms of the government run indoctrination centers if someone shouted “all rise” or “attention on deck” when a teacher entered the room, and the children stood until the teacher took his place, and then all the students sat quietly, waiting to be taught.

And think of the difference in our family gatherings if everyone rose when an older person entered the room. Leviticus 19.32 says “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”

Our American culture worships young people and warehouses their old people. If we are to save America, perhaps we could recreate this Biblical tradition. While it’s true that “there’s no fool like an old fool”, it’s also true that living five or six decades or more exposes one to many things that can be taught, and by listening, many young people wouldn’t have to keep rediscovering that fire burns. And if standing when an officer enters can shape our soldiers, and standing when the judge enters can order the court, then standing for a teacher or perhaps an older person will shape our culture.

John Prine’s wonderful song, “Hello in There” ends with the admonition to just say hello. Moses indicated that you should be standing when you do so.