As I attended the Demolition Derby last night at the Bangor State Fair, I was reminded of a little boy who touched my heart years ago. I think of this little guy often when I attend public events, even though I have no idea who he was.

It happens at many public gatherings and sporting events. The audience is asked to stand for the singing of the National Anthem. Everyone rises and the men, and some of the women remove their hats and hold them over their hearts. Each time, I think of the same little boy.

He couldn't have been older than six or seven. I was at the old Bangor Auditorium for the Eastern Maine High School Basketball Tournaments. As I was walking through the concession area in the stadium I heard one of the bands begin to play the national anthem. So I stopped, turned toward the entrance into a seating area, and listened.

It was then that I saw him. This sweet-faced little boy, standing next to his Dad. He had turned around and saw me standing there with the ball cap I'd forgotten was on my head. He looked me in the eyes, raised his hand, and made a motion as if he were taking off a cap.

Of course, I immediately pulled off my cap and smiled at him as I quietly mouthed 'thank you.' He smiled back and turned back toward the flag. I don't mind telling you, I had tears in my eyes as I listened to the rest of the song. But it wasn't because of the music. It was the respect I felt for this little guy and for his parents who raised him to respect his country.

So as I stood there last night, ball cap over my heart, I again thought of that little boy. He must be a teenager (at least) by now. And I hope that respect his parents taught him has stayed with him. I know my respect for him will always be a part of me. And his sweet smile will live in my heart forever.