I'm not one for blind patriotism. Heck, I'm not really one for eyes-wide-open patriotism, so America's flag obsession was a bit of a shock to my system . Standing at school to recite the Pledge of Allegiance still makes me a bit squirrelly, given that the flag has been used to justify some pretty nefarious stuff. I do it anyway, because, as one of my teacher friends explained, if even just one student wants to stand, it is our job to stand and support him/her. So it is hard to explain why I have such fondness for the US National Anthem. Maybe it is because Americans are so adorably enthusiastic when they get to the end and they all cheer and clap. Maybe it is because it is just a fun song, arguably better than God Defend New Zealand (hush your complaints. I know you all know all the words and even sing it in Maori now. It's still no Waltzing Matilda).
The Star Spangled Banner is played before pretty much any sports event from major league baseball to the middle school girls' swim meet. Here is Ella doing a solo rendition on her flute at tonight's home meet against Corning. Do you see our mascot on her swim cap? No wildcat or tiger or warrior for us, we're the Binghamton Patriots. I even have a decal of him on my car. I sure never saw that one coming.