The National Anthem

I have to admit – I don’t like football. I don’t really watch it, although I finally began to somewhat understand it. I’m lucky that my hubby is not a die hard fan because, honestly, I don’t know what I’d do. However, even I watch the Super Bowl – sometimes. It’s pretty cool when it’s hosted in my hometown, though, and it’s a neat perk being able to open our sliding glass door and hear the residual engines of the F15’s that flew over the stadium during the national anthem.

But this post isn’t about the Super Bowl. It’s about the national anthem. For Super Bowl XLIV, Carrie Underwood sang the national anthem, right after Queen Latifah sang America the Beautiful. Both renditions were spectacular and were sung by two talented women. But I have to say that hearing the anthem that symbolizes our country gives me the goosebumps. I can’t help but remain silent, staring at the screen, the hairs on my arms standing, and my heart beating faster. Before I know it, tears are threatening to make their escape from my eyes. It is a powerful song. Add to that a satellite image of our soldiers with their right hands over their hears, the look of exhaustion and pride etched in their faces, I can’t help but say God Bless America – I am proud to be an American.

I know it’s not a perfect nation – I criticize its flaws rather often. But then again, what is a perfect nation? Karl Marx had his idea of a perfect, equalized utopia, but we all know that doesn’t materialize well. Human weaknesses, like greed, get in the way quite often when trying to create utopias. But this is a pretty okay nation. Although romanticized, the ideals that brought us together are those same ideals that keep us kicking and dub us “the land of opportunity” – because here, if your want something hard enough, and you work for it, you have a very good chance of getting it, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or creed. Sure, there are some across all the aforementioned that have a tougher battle, but life doesn’t discriminate.

My father lived in this country for over thirty-five years. He became a US citizen, and yet he still complained about this nation, about the atrocities it committed, and about the modern globalization, conquering other nations by implementing McDonald’s and Burger King food chains. I would always tell him, if you don’t like it, go back home, home being Colombia. There was some truth in his ramblings; I was astounded at seeing BK in Paris, and Pizza Hut in Medellin, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. When I go to these places, I go to experience their cuisine, rich in flavors and spices that are not present here. But that’s a topic for another musing.

The crux of the matter is that this is a great country. We have opportunity and although some of the politics doesn’t make sense and gets lost in political jargon, I don’t think I’d have the same opportunities if I lived elsewhere. Well, maybe I would in Canada, and I’d have free government health care, but that, too, my friend, is another story.

This country was founded on the quest for liberty and as a shelter for persecution. Sometimes we forget that and we persecute our own. But then I listen to the national anthem, and Carrie Underwood’s powerful voice as she sings it, and the symbolism behind it roots me.

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