The broadcast of the Chilean miners trapped in the mine struck a cord with me. It wasn’t that they were trapped in a horrifying situation, although, that alone was also a striking image. It was that these men were filmed emphatically singing their national anthem.
This was just a reminder of a lesson I Iearned in my early twenties when I started fraternizing with the Latvians. I frequented parties where nary an English word was spoken. Nearly twenty years later, I still don’t understand the language. So, why would I repeatedly return to that environment? Maybe it was the singing. Sure, as a newly legal drinker, I enjoyed exposure to after hours parties. I’d watch twenty (plus or minus) men and women close their eyes and sing praise to the motherland until the wee hours of morning. Ever much the outsider in these occasions, I found I was still drawn to them and their love for the birth land of their parents.
Envy grew. I wanted what they had. I learned from the Latvians that I wanted to be a tried and true American.
Then again, when the Chilean miners were trapped, their choice of song to keep their spirits raised? The Chilean National Anthem. Can you imagine what songs a group of trapped American miners would sing? Mmmmmmm, Take This Job And Shove It?
Last Independence Day, I started a new family tradition. I created a playlist on my iPod to be played during the fireworks. I wanted to capture that patriotic feeling I’d witnessed elsewhere and introduce it to my children. With any luck, whenever they see fireworks, they will hear The Battle Hymn of The Republic in their heads.
Here’s a short list to include in your next holiday playlist:
The Star Spangled Banner
Battle Hymn of The Republic
The Stars and Stripes Forever
Grand Old Flag
It’s a bit heavy on the John Phillip Sousa side but mom always said, “There’s nothing more patriotic than a John Phillip Sousa march.”
photo from West Bend Memorial Library