Please Stand By . . .

Jim takes us down memory lane with his essay about those words most of us remember well, “Please stand by.”

How many of us remember having the TV station (hey, it was AFN (Armed Forces Network)—we only HAD one station—go off at night, and then come back on the next morning? I used to stand at attention as the National Anthem played.

Popular shows were always at least a year behind the States, so we’d try to glean what we could from folks back Stateside on the updates before we got the shows the next year.

When MTV came out in the US, we all asked for VHS copies of videos—AFN wasn’t showing any of them, so we got what we could.

Live events were a special treat…most notably football games. When they cut from live back to AFN, sometimes they weren’t quick enough, and we got tiny little glimpses of those priceless gems called commercials (I think I spent a solid two weeks in front of the tube watching commercials when we finally came back to the States in 1986!).

I remember Sunday mornings, watching the Flintstones first thing. A bowl of cereal, and Fred and Wilma and my early morning was complete.

Oh . . . and who could ever forget, “It’s 10 o’clock in central Europe . . . do you know where your children are? the news is next, on AFN!”

And the OPSEC “commercials?” Priceless—it’s no wonder that when I’m on a plane and somebody starts talking to me, that I hold back on discussing my work! 17 years of AFN commercials whipped me right into shape!

What brought this all on? I was watching the opening of a football game the other night, and found myself standing when they started playing the national anthem—call me a dork, I don’t care!


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