Friday, July 3, 2015

That’s What America Means To Me

I’ve been a witness to history just as you have.  America has been the noblest country the world has ever known and nothing the other side says will ever persuade me to change my mind.

The greatest generation liberated Europe in the Second World War, we sent a man to the moon, we led the Industrial Revolution and ten days after the attacks of 9/11 when the nation was so terribly sad, my beloved Atlanta Braves played the New York Mets in Shea Stadium in the first public event after the attacks.  The stadium was still being used as a triage center.

After Marc Anthony sang “The Star Spangled Banner” the rival teams, standing on the first base and third base lines, crossed the diamond to hug each and shake hands. Everyone was rooting for the Mets to win as a symbol of the nation’s resilience.

For game three of the 2001 World Series, President George W. Bush walked ramrod-straight onto the field of Yankee Stadium and threw out the first pitch.  His pitch was a perfect strike.  The crowd erupted into chants of “USA, USA, USA.”

The city of New York had been reduced to rubble, but the crowd swelled with national pride.  If baseball could carry on, then so could we.  Watching President Bush toss that ball gave me a lump in my throat and every, and I mean every time I hear the national anthem I get a lump in my throat.

A “Gibraltar in cleats”, Lou Gehrig, on July 4, 1939 gave his farewell speech to baseball in Yankee Stadiuma place dedicated to the courage of men.  Seventy-six years ago, with tears streaming down his face, Gehrig humbly told 61,808 fans in the bleachers that he had been forced to retire due to ALS.

We are the country that authored the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and we’ve had more than our fair share of heroes. 

This July Fourth I will ignore the people in the beltway with abscessed hearts who try desperately to divide us.  I am going to remember what America means to me.  Come Monday, I will take up the fight again.

On this most American of holidays, I will dwell in a happy place and enjoy the most American of things:  baseball, apple pie and Independence Day.

I wish you all a safe and happy Fourth of July.  God bless America.

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