Professors and philosophers pick Fourth of July to come out of the woodwork to muse about the death of American exceptionalism, the immorality of our patriotism, and an indifferent wartime citizenry. Potential adversaries also pick Independence Day to talk smack and posture. That’s their right and they make some points that beg for debate, but I have an American life to lead and beer to drink.
Before I pull myself away from the keyboard to celebrate the nation’s birthday, I’d like to share some of the Chairman’s favorite American moments:
Miracle on Ice, 1980. Height of the Cold War, just a year after the Russian Army invaded Afghanistan. An unsung group of college kids taking on the greatest hockey team ever. Does it get any better than Al Michaels’ call in the final minute of the game?
Rocky beats Ivan Drago, 1983. Fighting in red, white and blue trunks, the Italian Stallion avenges the death of his buddy Apollo Creed, who was tragically killed during an exhibition match by a steroid-addled Drago. Bonus red, white and blue points: Rocky humiliates Drago in front of the Politburo and gets the Russian crowd to cheer for him. Negative points: Rocky ends up with Bridgette Nielsen in real life.
Toby Keith sings “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” “Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way…”
The Coldstream Guards play the U.S. National Anthem — not “God Save the Queen” — during the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It never happened before and has not happened since. During the joint session of Congress days after 9/11, I remember Tony Blair sitting in the gallery near a New York firefighter and Port Authority policeman. As Dubya said in his speech, “Thank you for coming, friend,” prompting a standing ovation. Blair’s best 9/11 quote: “We will stay with you to the last.” Our cousins across the Atlantic are among a select few around the world who truly has America’s back, regardless of the circumstances. This was necessary in the past decade.
Americans celebrate in front of the White House after the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, 2011. A little bloodthirsty? Perhaps, but for those of us old enough to remember that awful day in 2001, revenge and justice wore the same outfit. Osama was the boogeyman that America had to slay in order to help all of us move on after 9/11. Considering the tumult of the past several years, the friends I’ve buried, the deployments, our pain and our collective loss of innocence, I believe Americans deserved this moment.
And finally, little explanation is needed for this one. Of the six men involved in the second raising of the U.S. flag atop Mount Surabachi, three were killed during the Battle of Iwo Jima, 1945 (while one slowly killed himself, Ira Hayes):