Sunday, November 24, 2013

Patriotism and Respect

So we were at another Lions game today, and sadly, they lost. 5...FIVE turnovers.  Horrible.  Apparently Reggie Bush has called a players-only meeting, which can't be good.  Joe doesn't think much good will come out of it; at week 12 of 16 regular season games, he says they should have it figured it out by now.  However, this blog is not about football.  Besides, I know next to nothing.

I am continuously amazed by the Americans' sense of pride.  Pride in and love of their country is unparalleled.   I watched a young dad today during the singing of the anthem turn to his son, motioning for him to put his hand on his heart.  Once he was satisfied that his son was standing appropriately, he turned back towards the field, singing his heart out.  Everyone was either singing, or if not, silent.  And I mean silent.  Respectful.  Attentive.  I didn't find an overwhelming number of people were singing; in fact, I would hazard a guess that the majority were not.  But they weren't yapping or laughing amongst themselves as often happens during the Canadian anthem at sporting events in Canada I've attended.  The flag they rolled out covered the entire football field.  And no one sat down until the flag was completely rolled up.  Pretty impressive.

It was Salute to Service Day at the game, and, once again, I was so impressed by how much respect and applause they give their military.  A deeply emotional event happened when they brought out a young family, 3 children, one of whom was in arms, and their mother.  Her husband, father of the kids, was stationed in Afghanistan, doing his third tour.  They played her a message from him on the big screen, very touching.  Matthew Stafford came on the screen next, thanking the husband for his service, and then announced that he was here.  Here!  And out he walked with a bouquet of roses in his arms.  She was incredulous (I know the feeling: your brain is not processing what you are seeing, and so you don't know how to react since you do not believe your eyes, literally).  What struck me though, were the two children.  The eldest, the girl, maybe 4, didn't seem to know this man, but the boy, maybe 3, did.  That made me so sad and mad.  These wars are so dumb, so senseless, tearing families apart, many forever, either by death or by Post-Traumatic Stress syndrome, and usually those in charge, the senators, the commanders, the presidents, never face this kind of horrific pain within their own families.  I am so disappointed, beyond disappointed, that Obama has not pulled out of Iraq, that there are still so many troops, from my country too, in Afghanistan.  However, I was very moved by the scene on the field today.

I wish Canadians had this sense of fierce pride.  I do, but I know it isn't deeply ingrained into the psyche of us as it is for Americans, and as it is for my mother, fierce in her pride of England.  Maybe it's because America and England had to fight and die for their freedom, their independence, America from the British, and England from the Romans, whereas Canada never did.

We were stuck on the bridge back to Windsor for over an hour this time, even though we'd gone for a bite to eat at Honest John's in Midtown.  Great food, lots of choices, and cheap.  Again, the LACK of respect for bridge etiquette irked me: there is one lane for trucks, and one lane for cars.  There were tons of cars, TONS.  We were all doing quite nicely, getting single file into our lane, but nope, there were many who ignored the "trucks only" designation, zooming around those of us following the rules, flying by the lineup.  WHY do they think they are more important and should go ahead of the hundred or more in line??  Invariably, at the Canadian side, there is a border guard standing in that truck lane, stopping the cars, making them merge into the car lane, and telling the first one or two off.  Those behind crowbar their way into the car lane, which is not at all fair.  There should be a fine for doing this.

The human race both impresses me and disappoints me.  How I wish we could all just show each other courtesy.  Always.

On a happy note, Dayna saved us $20 in parking by showing us a great spot to park just off Woodward, one block from the parking lot we usually use.  We ended up walking to the game with two friendly Detroiters, one a lawyer, the other in Finance at Comerica Bank.  The lawyer went to law school in California, telling us all his firends said see ya, thinking he'd never come back.  But he did.  No regrets, he's fiercely proud of his city.  He gave us his card, telling us he has four season tickets and often sells two or even three of them.  When he found out Dayna was in her fourth year at Wayne State in Finance, he turned to his friend and said, "Give her your card!"  His friend explained that he interviews a lot of students, hiring them on as interns, and then getting them into the lending side of the bank's operations.  He told Dayna to send him her resume, and to give him a call!  How incredible is that?

So I take out of today's game the positive.  Pride, respect, honour for those who serve, awe at the genuine connection between strangers.

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