A mom was watching her son and his friends jump on the trampoline when suddenly she noticed them standing frozen in place. She wondered what could have possibly made them stop — and that’s when she saw what they were staring at.
Tania Duenas Sweeney decided to grab her camera and take a photograph when her son and some other boys, who had been jumping on a trampoline, suddenly stood frozen in place. What they stopped to do inspired her to take not only take the picture but share the special moment on Facebook with an explanation.
Sweeney is a military mom, who was stationed with her family at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where she captured the photo that garnered a lot of attention. As she explained in the caption, at 5 o’clock Monday through Friday, both the German and American national anthems play — and the kids know just what to do.
“I love that these boys stop whatever they are doing and show their respect to our current country and the good ole USA!” Sweeney wrote on social media when she posted the photo. “We love this neighborhood.” The image clearly showed the group of boys, who were on a trampoline when the music began, and immediately, they stopped what they were doing to show their respect.
“If you are outside, you must stop what you are doing and face the direction of the anthems or a visible flag. Everything stops on base — adults, kids, all vehicles will turn on hazards and stop traffic to show respect,” Sweeney explained to the Independent Journal Review after her photo went viral.
Sweeney is incredibly proud that her kids and the others living on base are learning the importance of respect and having it instilled in them at such a young age. “I love that our boys know now and do it automatically. I was doing dishes in the house and looked out the window to see them at attention. It warmed my heart,” she said, revealing more information about the touching photo she captured.
Giving an example of how the kids are encouraged by others to honor the tradition, she continued, “My son has baseball practice that starts at 5 pm on Tuesday and Thursday on base. Coaches ask kids to get there at 4:45, because of the anthem.” This allows the kids to get settled before the anthems play, and once they do, practice stops and it’s “all hats off.”
“These military kids sacrifice so much to support their military parent and it becomes part of who they are. They endure extended periods of time without their military parent and mature a little more quickly than the average kid,” Sweeney continued. “They feel pride in their country, and it is amplified living on base and especially in an overseas location. I am so proud of every boy in that picture, especially because no one made those kids show respect, they did it because they truly respect the USA.”
Being a so-called “military brat” is not the easiest way to grow up, and these kids have to make a ton of sacrifices while mom or dad serves their country. Whether it’s moving around a lot, foregoing opportunities that are presented to other kids their age, or having mom or dad deployed for long periods of time and missing their milestones, it all adds up to not being the most awesome experience in the world at times for youngsters. Sadly, their sacrifice as children often go unrecognized, and that’s part of the reason Sweeney decided she just had to share the amazing photo she captured.
Kids do the darndest things sometimes, and that includes an abundance of instances in which they choose to do the right thing. But, usually, those aren’t the kids making headlines. While kids behaving badly will always manage to get plenty of attention, there are plenty of other children who know to do the right thing.
All too often, these kids fly under the radar, not drawing the praise they deserve. But, every once in a while, the spotlight shines brightly on them when they do something particularly awesome. In a world filled with news about kids doing the wrong thing, it’s nice to see a story about children, like these kids, who do the right thing — even when they don’t think anyone is watching.