Monday, March 31, 2014

And the home of the…

home of the brave

Last night, Nick and I had the opportunity to go see the Minnesota Gophers (alma mater for both of us!) take on the St. Cloud State Huskies for the chance to advance to the NCAA Final Four. Great news- the Gophers won the game, and will be taking on the UND Fighting Sioux this coming Thursday!

One of my favorite times when attending sporting events is before the game actually starts, and the entire stadium rises, removes their caps, and sings the National Anthem. Especially after being abroad for the past year and not hearing it, seeing the American flag, or really having any connection to patriotism around me- it has taken on a slightly different meaning. To me, hearing the National Anthem sung is really about patriotism, showing pride for your country, and respecting the troops- past, present, and future. Without these troops, America may not exist as it does today. Our National Anthem is the chance to take one minute out of your day, to think about your country and all of the great things you are able to do because of where you live. Whatever your political stance is, democratic, republican, green party, or somewhere in between, the National Anthem is not about your views, it is about the country.

However. As the National Anthem is winding down, and fans are getting ready for the event to start, the event seems to take precedence over this moment of respect. "O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave" is the lyric-- and given which sports stadium you are standing in, it has now become home of the Gophers, the Vikings, the Twins, the Bulldogs… and that is not right. Yes, the sports fans may be standing in that team's arena- and call it their home arena- but the National Anthem is not sung to honor that team. It is sung to honor our country.

In these sporting events, it is also now common to have the announcer ask for our troops, past and present, to stand for a moment of recognition. This is another great moment in our sporting events, where we take the time to recognize these people. Last night, it was inspiring to see how many of our troops attended the event and were proud to be recognized for their service. I can bet just about anything that not a single one of these troops would dream of replacing the word "brave" in our National Anthem with any other word, or team, out there. Because this is the United States of America, and we are the home of the brave.

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