COLUMBIA — Before South Carolinians hit the couch, recliner, bar stool or chair to watch the Super Bowl, their governor wants them on their feet.

Gov. Henry McMaster issued a proclamation Tuesday afternoon setting Feb. 4 as “Stand for the Flag Super Bowl Sunday” in the Palmetto State. He urges everyone to stand during the performance of the national anthem, a move McMaster said honors the country, its flag and a proud military tradition in South Carolina.

“Standing for the national anthem recognizes and honors the sacrifice of generations of men and women who have chosen to serve in the United States Armed Forces,” he said in a statement. “I ask that all South Carolinians show the world our state’s resolute commitment to supporting our troops by standing for the national anthem wherever you watch the Super Bowl with your loved ones this Sunday.”

The proclamation calls the American flag “the greatest symbol of freedom the world has ever known.” It notes military installations in South Carolina, including Fort Jackson, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Shaw Air Force Base, Joint Base Charleston, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort.

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South Carolina is home to more than 417,000 veterans and has the 10th highest active duty military population in the country, the proclamation states.

The “Star Spangled Banner” celebrates the flag and “an historic victory won by brave Americans fighting and sacrificing to preserve our young nation,” the proclamation states. Standing for the anthem “recognizes and honors the service and sacrifice of generations of men and women of the United State Armed Forces.”

The proclamation comes after more than a year of debate on whether to stand for the anthem. In mid-2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the song’s performance to protest the treatment of minorities by law enforcement. Several high-profile cases of police using lethal force against minority suspects preceded Kaepernick’s stance.

The protest grew as more professional football players began sitting, kneeling or taking similar postures the past two seasons.

President Donald Trump chimed this season, criticizing players who don’t stand during the anthem.

The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots play in the Super Bowl on Sunday in Minneapolis, Minn. Pink will perform the national anthem.


(c)2018 the Fort Mill Times (Fort Mill, S.C.)

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