…. was a TV day.
Several hours of viewing yesterday produced the yin and yang of American society in both its goodness and its excess.
Television is a window on the world; it is also a mirror and a lot of the time I don’t like what I see.
In my version of a right world, the viewership of President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday celebration in Simi alley California and the Superbowl in Dallas would have would have been reversed.
I watched the entire broadcast and I’ll remember it for a long time.
It was one of those times that Americans, at least those who bothered to watch, could easily see why I am proud to be a Marine and serving this great nation.
The Marine Corps and its many traditions are woven into the history of the Presidency. A lone Marine sentry (four Marines rotate half-hour shifts) stands outside the entrance whenever the President is in the West Wing.
- Founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization.
- Virtually any lengthy trip the President undertakes begins and ends with Marine One, and every U.S. embassy in the world is guarded by a Marine Security Detachment.
- Yesterday the 21-gun salute For President Reagan was flawlessly carried out by a unit of the 11th Marine Regiment
- Marine Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn, Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, served as Mrs. Reagan’s escort at the celebration.
- A very nice touch was the Medal of Honor presented by President Ronald Reagan to the late U.S. Army Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez in 1981 which was showcased at the Library for the event.
Yesterday the Corps showed the world why most Presidents are deeply appreciative of the superb military bearing, dignity, and professionalism, well worthy of the leader of the Free World.
This young Marine, after standing at attention for more than an hour, assisted Mrs. Reagan as she lay a Presidential wreath and then went to present arms with the opening volley of 21-gun salute; a single tear made its way slowly down her lean cheek.
There is every chance that this young NCO is not a presidential history buff and was a just child when Reagan left office, but I believe her tears were produced by her great love of country, it’s history and traditions, that she was entrusted with the solemn presidential duty, and the emotional impact of participating in American history; she has no doubt lost friends over whose grave such volleys were fired, who had served under our flag which in the end, covered their caskets.
It was truly one of those times that a picture was worth a thousand words; video '>here.
The ceremony’s speeches were brief and heartfelt, the music appropriate and up lifting, and the invitation-only audience of 1,200 must have come away deeply touched, encouraged, renewed and positive.
I know I did… such is the visual and aural impact of this Great Country at its best.
But by mid-evening, watching a much different broadcast, I was returned to my molar-grinding, tense, elevated blood pressure old self.
It had nothing to do with the game…. or the commercials, or the teams or the score; it was the contrast between the two wildly divergent Americas I’d witnessed in the space of just eight hours.
Christina Aguilera , who could have been mistaken for one of the estimated 10,000 hookers on hand for Super Bowl week, not only made a mockery of the National Anthem, she sang it before a flag line of red banners… so popular in communist countries.
Yes, she mis-sang and lost some of the lyrics, and I can understand that kind of pressure, but the reason she, a professional singer, forgot wasn’t that kind of pressure; she screwed up because she was so intent, not on honoring her country, by on making our National Anthem sound like amateur at the Apollo Theater; she even changed the melody to boot.
Later she explained the disaster, saying that she was “caught up in the moment”; yeah… her moment.
In the future I’m going to avoid the National Anthem at televised sporting events… sports should be fun and entertaining… not rage-inducing.
There are what… 45 players on each side of the field? Add coaches, trainers, groupies, owners… and there are probably 100 people facing each other when the Anthem beings.
Last night a collection of overpaid, steroidal Neanderthals, most of whom could not graduate college in four or five years despite majoring in “communications” or “coaching science”, did not bother to take off their head gear, stand at attention, place their hand over their heart or manage to look like an American for even two minutes.
Talking, moving around, stretching… it was all about them; no thoughts of the flag unfurled before them, the dead and wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq who make it possible for them to play a child’s game for a living.
… No thoughts of a young man standing alone near the end zone rigidly at attention, saluting, in dress uniform—the only real hero in the entire stadium, virtually unnoticed….
Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, United States Army, Medal of Honor, Afghanistan, 2007.
Right, Giunta later acknowledged the crowd’s ovation… I wonder how many narcissistic jocks made their way over to him at some point just to say thanks and meet someone really important?
And as Aguilera wailed like a banshee, as my disgust level reached critical… I caught sight of Pittsburgh corner William Gay, looking up, hand over heart, tears running down his lean cheek.
His heartfelt response to the Anthem would have made him welcome at the Reagan Library this morning… I cannot say as much for most of the rest of those in the players’ boxes.
He’s the kind of person America needs… to serve as a counter-balance to the wretched excess of a society that refuses to take even a moment to give thanks to the institutions and the citizens like SSgt. Giunta who have made it all possible.
At least in Minnesota the Vikes seem to understand……