When Bev Lapp, associate professor of music, emailed me a thoughtful perspective piece on her reaction to the playing of the national anthem at a recent volleyball game, I knew right away that I wanted to print it. Although it is printed directly to the right, I initially hesitated to print material about the national anthem in the first issue for a few reasons.First and foremost, I was afraid people would react negatively to bringing up such a sensitive issue again. After the national anthem issue headlined the front page of The Record for most of the spring semester last year, I heard people saying, “I’m so sick of hearing about the National Anthem.” I admit that I, too, felt like I had discussed the issue to the point of mental exhaustion by the time the anthem actually premiered. I didn’t want people to open this first Record issue and think, “Great, it’s just going to be anthem coverage all over again.”
People tire of issues at different rates, as my faculty adviser Marshall King pointed out when we discussed my dilemma. Mennonites value intentional processing, discernment and listening to each other. I decided to print this carefully articulated perspective article on the National Anthem in this first issue because I want the perspective page of The Record to be a place people can feel safe writing into, a place where people feel comfortable expressing their points of view. Supporting each other’s processing of issues that matter deeply is important. The playing of the National Anthem is an issue closely followed by many, even though some have shifted their energy to other issues. Listening to those struggling to find nuggets of wisdom and personal growth through the playing of the National Anthem is one of the best ways we can live out compassionate peacemaking.
That said, I also wanted to highlight an exciting change to this semester’s Record. The perspectives page is now a two-page spread, with two special columns. Students from the Egypt Study-Service Term unit will be sending us weekly articles for “The Egyptian Maple Leaf” column, and students who participated in one of the three summer Inquiry programs: Service Inquiry, Camping Inquiry or Ministry Inquiry. I look forward to a great semester hearing about students’ (and professors, administrators or community members’) experiences across the nation and world.