National Pride: Just Wonderful
Almost everyone who has laid finger to keyboard has written about the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; however, the story for me is viewing the quadrennial bubbling of national pride and knowing its juxtaposition with local heroes.
The national pride among Americans is unique. You don’t have to watch too many medal ceremonies to realize those representing the USA handle our national anthem just a little differently. Our athletes stand respectfully hand over heart, many singing, some with tears, and all with a smile.
Sure their emotions and self worth are at an “Olympic” high due to well-deserved personal accomplishment, but compared to those of other countries there is something visibly different. We have a rooted pride that extends from the games in Beijing to political venues in Baltimore County, Maryland.
This past week at the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee meeting, Delegate J.B. Jennings stood at the podium, before 45-five people in attendance and told us how he recently fulfilled a dream – to serve his country. Mr. Jennings at age 34 had enlisted in the Air National Guard and would be soon leaving for boot camp.
His story was of a lifelong desire to serve his country and to serve in the same Guard Unit as his father. His preparation has been almost two years in the making. He sold his business, sold his prize herd of cattle, lost over 50 pounds and convinced his bride of only three years that additional public service outside of the Maryland General Assembly was his destiny.
I have participated actively with my county’s Republican Central Committee for over 15 years, missing very few meetings. Yet, Monday evening Delegate Jennings became the first person, in that time, or perhaps ever, to receive a standing ovation.
National pride is inbred in “We the People.” We’re a scrappy bunch who have banded together from different educational backgrounds, geographic and ethnic diversity to win wars on shear guts and determination.
I’ve had the honor to be with Sen. John McCain, his naval academy buddies and fellow POW’s. It was impossible to stand in a room with those men and not have your eyes well with tears of pride at their collective service to our country – a past duty they view with humility, having been honored to serve.
There are few citizens who have not felt the tug of pride at some point as they have viewed action spawned by love of country. We have felt the joy of those who have returned safely from battle and the distain for those who disgrace our flag or other national symbols.
On the overpass of the Baltimore Beltway at Exit 13 in Catonsville, the flag has been waived every month, on the 11th of the month, since 9-11-2001. Driving rain, snow, heat, crazy drivers heading to work, and even the Maryland State Police have not been able to stop this monthly tribute and reminder of national pride.
From now until the close of the XXIX Olympiad, every time you see a victory lap around the track with our flag, an athlete wrapped in Old Glory, or one who is singing through a few tears on the medal stand, just know that national pride extends everywhere.
I know a young delegate from District 7 and a gray-bearded, retired Navy captain from Catonsville who both understand love of country, too.