Students at Lincoln Memorial Told to Stop Singing National Anthem
By Todd Starnes
Published August 09, 2010 | FoxNews.com
A group of high school students attending a conservative leadership conference in Washington, D.C. said they were ordered by a security guard to stop singing the national anthem during a June 25 visit to the Lincoln Memorial.
“They told them to stop singing,” said Evan Gassman, a spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation. “I was taken aback. You wouldn’t expect a display of national patriotism to be censored."
U.S. Park Police confirmed that the students were in violation of federal law and their impromptu performance constituted a demonstration in an area that must remain “completely content neutral.”
“The area they were standing in and singing is an area that is restricted for this type of activity,” said Sgt. David Schlosser. “The United States Park Police is absolutely content-neutral when it comes to any sort of demonstrations in these areas.”
Schlosser explained that performances, regardless of content, are banned to “maintain a contemplative and reverent area for the Lincoln Memorial, for the other guests and visitors.”
The incident occurred on June 25 as students were taking a monument tour of the nation’s capital. The decision to sing the national anthem at the memorial was a spur of the moment event, according to Shawn Balcomb, of Richmond Hill, GA.
“We got maybe two lines in and a police officer came over and he was yelling,” Balcomb said in a telephone interview. “He quieted us down.” Balcomb, 17, said the officer told the group they were being too loud. “I was dumbfounded,” he said.
“I didn’t realize there was something wrong with singing the national anthem.”
Schlosser said the students would have been in compliance had they moved approximately 25 steps from where they were standing.
“It’s not the content of their activity – that being the national anthem – it’s the location,” he said. “A couple steps and it would have been no problem whatsoever.”
Instead of doing as they were instructed, Gassman said the students resumed the song – an impromptu form of civil disobedience.
“If their idea of civil disobedience is singing the national anthem, then so be it,” Gassman said. “Let them disobey.”
YAF posted video reportedly shot just after the alleged encounter with the security officer. It shows students loudly singing the anthem.
“That’s the most offensive thing out of all this,” he said.
“They really did not provide the students a reason,” said Gassman. Balcomb, who is a high school senior, said they didn’t intend on creating a ruckus – they just wanted to show their patriotism.
“It’s not like we sounded great or anything,” he said.
“We just wanted to pay respect to our nation – in our capital.”
Schlosser, who commended the students on their musical ability, said the students were not cited and to his knowledge no report was filed.
“We need to make certain that all other visitors that don’t want to be a part of that or just choose to be tourists are able to do so in the same light that probably President Lincoln wanted – which is completely content neutral,” he said.
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09-08-2010, 05:04 PM #1
Don't Sing the National Anthem at the Lincoln Memorial
09-08-2010, 06:30 PM #2
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- Jul 2010
I believe the issue had to do with the group being in the Lincoln Memorial, which has numerous signs asking for quiet and to respect the reverance of the memorial. This group just happened to pick the one spot in D.C. where silence is enforced.
09-08-2010, 11:02 PM #3
At first I was outraged, but what if a group wanted to start singing anti-american songs...
I guess it is appropriate that certain areas should be content free, but c'mon.. someone has a little badge fever.I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.
"The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."
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09-09-2010, 12:16 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
So just to clarify:
They didn't get in trouble for singing the national anthem, they got in trouble for violating a no-singing rule.
The content of the singing had nothing to do with it."They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
09-09-2010, 02:02 AM #5Originally Posted by MarcusKspn
36 C.F.R. § 7.96(g)(3)(ii)(B) prohibits issuance of permits for demonstrations or special events at the Lincoln Memorial:
(B) The Lincoln Memorial, which means that portion of the park area which is on the same level or above the base of the large marble columns surrounding the structure, and the single series of marble stairs immediately adjacent to and below that level, except for the official annual commemorative Lincoln birthday ceremony.
(g) Demonstrations and special events(1) Definitions. (i) The term demonstrations includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct which involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which has the effect, intent or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers. This term does not include casual park use by visitors or tourists which does not have an intent or propensity to attract a crowd or onlookers.
(ii) The term special events includes sports events, pageants, celebrations, historical reenactments, regattas, entertainments, exhibitions, parades, fairs, festivals and similar events (including such events presented by the National Park Service), which are not demonstrations under paragraph (g)(1)(i) of this section, and which are engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which has the effect, intent or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers. This term also does not include casual park use by visitors or tourists which does not have an intent or propensity to attract a crowd or onlookers.
FM1I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.
Originally Posted by EastKyFF
09-09-2010, 08:59 AM #6
Yeah.. really not seeing a cause for outrage. The Lincoln Memorial has a no-singing statute. The students started singing and the cops stopped them. Where's the problem other then the title of the article is slanted and misleading.
The article could have just as easily been written "Park Cops stop student flash mob at Lincoln Memorial".So you call this your free country
Tell me why it costs so much to live
09-09-2010, 01:09 PM #7
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- Mar 2004
- Memphis Tn,USA-now
I still would have flipped both middle digits in the guard's direction and kept on singing.
I'd be put UNDER the jail for my voice though but I don't see why this is against some rule.
09-09-2010, 07:02 PM #8
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- Jan 2006
This reminds me of the articles where people move into a neighborhood that has a no-flag rule on the books, then put up a flag, and then throw a fit because he has to take the flag down.
It is not anti-anthem, it is anti-singing-anything."They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
09-09-2010, 09:48 PM #9
What if every single visitor to the various memorials in the area began screaming the National Anthem (or any song, for that matter) at the top of their lungs? Sound like a pack of holier-than-thou disrespectful punks, to me. I say give 'em the Tazer. Rules are rules.
09-10-2010, 10:12 AM #10
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
- Rural Iowa
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