Wednesday evening, the St. Louis Blues played host to the Chicago Blackhawks and held Salute to Military Night at Scottrade Center. The Blues asked their fans to sing the national anthem before the game and it was a particularly beautiful moment. The gesture was supposed to honor the nation’s veterans, but in the end turned out to be a powerful show of unity after the country’s divisive presidential election the night before.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) November 10, 2016
“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we ask for your participation as we come together to honor our nation’s veterans,” Blues PA Announcer Tom Calhoun said. “Retired Naval Petty Officer, 1st Class, Generald Wilson will start us in unison tonight and will then step aside as we ask all 19,000 of you fans in attendance to honor the contributions and the courage of those who have worn our nation’s uniform with pride. Whether you bleed blue or wear the red, regardless of your political affiliation, we ask you to show both your pride in being an American and your thanks and appreciation for your country’s veterans.”
The line about whether you bleed blue or wear the red is especially poignant. That’s because not only do Blues and Blackhawks fans self-identify with those colors, but so do Democrats and Republicans.
Donald Trump, who trailed Hillary Clinton 3% in most polls heading into the election, is the president-elect after a huge turnout from impassioned rural voters in battleground states and the rust belt. While Trump’s electoral college victory was decisive, Clinton remains the leader in the popular vote. In several of the country’s biggest cities Wednesday night, protests erupted detesting Trump’s politics and demagoguery during his campaign while the hashtag #NotMyPresident trended on Twitter all day.
Missouri, whose 10 electoral votes went to Donald Trump that night, is two years removed from angry protests and riots after Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer. Ferguson, where the shooting occurred, is a suburb of St. Louis.
The Blues called the anthem singing Wednesday “a new Veteran’s Game tradition in St. Louis.” What a perfect time to start it.
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