It begins with the first notes of Retreat.

Everyone stops. Heads turn in search of the direction of the music. Shopping carts loaded with groceries slow as the baggers stop walking. Cars park in the middle of the road and windows are rolled down to better hear.

Small children take a few extra steps, and then remember.

The strains of Retreat fade; men and women in uniform snap to attention. Kids place their hands over their hearts. Old men whip the hats off heads that they sometimes bow, but more often than not they gaze with a sense of importance towards the notes that have faded to nothing. Other adults stand quietly, hands clasped respectfully behind their backs, chests proudly out, chins held high.

For the next few minutes, there is no movement save the flag in the wind; voices are quiet, motors hum in the background, but no one moves.

For the next few minutes, an entire air force base holds still while the National Anthem plays.

Trust me, even after 23+ years, it's a sight to behold.

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