It always chokes me up a little when I see the American Flag raised at the Olympics when one of our stellar athletes wins the Gold. I suppose it is because when I was a boy, growing up, going through school, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and sang the National Anthem at the opening of school ceremonies and athletic contests. I remember saying and singing the words loudly and clearly with pride and a smile.
As our wonderful Team USA competitors stood on the podiums I noticed that about 90% placed their right hands over their hearts, but only about 10% actually sang the words to the anthem aloud. Many mouthed and mumbled the words, but very few sang with gusto. The tears came, and the eyes glistened and the smiles beamed, but the words, somehow got lost in the athletes throats.
Then on the second to last day of the Olympics, Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., kicked the final soccer goal, a shot heard round the world. As if that wasn’t enough, the stadium was treated to a historic medal ceremony. Each man received his medal, dutifully kissed it and bit it for the cameras, and then turned to face the three flags about to be hoisted for history. The teams from Germany, Brazil and Nigeria gradually settled down as the Brazil National Anthem began to play. The ensuing roar was deafening. To a man, each Brazil Team member sang to the top of his lungs, almost screaming, along with thousands of joyful fans, and followers; the Brazilian Nationals.
My heart rose with joy as I watched that marvelous spectacle. From the depths of recent depression; the back bending burden of political corruption, the doubts and touts of a world media that tried to cast a pall over the games, the voices of a proud people rose and drowned out the naysayers. What marvelous national pride, what unabashed joy, what perfect splendor. (Booing the opposition was a bit objectionable; another blog perhaps.)
What has happened to us America. Is it politically incorrect to show national pride? Is the ACLU so strong it can muffle the hearts and voices of patriots? Are we so down trodden; so beaten, so callous that we; the greatest country in history, the overwhelming winners of 121 Olympic Medals, the peddlers of democracy, can’t sing our joy and praises with a similar spirit? What has happened? I want to know.