Her son and some other boys were jumping on a trampoline when, suddenly, she saw them stop. What they stopped to do inspired her to take a photograph.
Tania Duenas Sweeney then shared the special moment on Facebook with an explanation:
It's 5 o'clock (m-f)… national anthems play (German and American). I love that these boys stop whatever they are doing…
It’s 5 o’clock (m-f)… national anthems play (German and American). I love that these boys stop whatever they are doing and show their respect to our current country and the good ole USA! We love this neighborhood. — at Ramstein Air Base.
Sweeney’s family lives on Ramstein Air Base in Germany. She told Independent Journal Review that each weekday, the end of the work day is signified with the playing of the national anthems of both Germany and the United States at 5:00 p.m. This tradition is observed by everyone who is outside at the time it occurs:
“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.”
She also revealed more information about the touching photo she captured, including an example of how the kids are encouraged by others to honor the tradition:
“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.
[As an example]: my son has baseball practice that starts at 5 pm on Tues and Thursday on base. Coaches ask kids to get there at 4:45, because of the anthem. The kids to get settled and be ready/and start before the anthems play, because the practice will stop and all hats off.”
Sweeney told IJR that the group of 7-to-10-year-old boys are not alone in making a positive impression:
“All friends and family military or not…appreciate that the base/people as a whole take the time to respect our military forces. Society as a whole continues to change and this tradition is one that still remains.”
Sweeney also shared what she was told by the mother of another boy in the photo:
“I think with my kids they know the reason that they are expected to salute the flag and the anthem. Many kids learn about being reverent from school and scouting but military kids take that more seriously. They know the importance of service to ones country and they see it on a daily basis with their mom or dad.
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. 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.”
Tying in with what this other mom shared, is the fact that April is Month of the Military Child, according to Army OneSource:
Army Garrisons, State Youth Program Coordinators, Army Reserve CYS Services Coordinators, and Operation: Military Kids (OMK) State Teams plan numerous events ranging from picnics and parades to recreational fairs and fun festivals – all to recognize and applaud Families and their children for the daily sacrifices for they make in supporting America’s Army.
The celebration began in 1986, according to Time magazine, thanks to the defense secretary of that time, Casper Weinberger. According to the Military Child Education Coalition, more than 2 million children have one or both parents in service to the United States, as an active duty, guard or reserve member. Of those children, more than half are aged four to eighteen.