Beyond American: A Story of Patriotism and Pride

For this summer, I work part-time at a minor league baseball stadium selling beer. It is not a glamorous job by any means, nor are there a ton of benefits (other than cash tips and watching baseball for free). I also live in a military town (there is a Navy base and an Air Force base here), but never really noticed anything different about it. Until the two collided at the ball field.

It was the beginning of May, which is Military Appreciation Month, and our boys on the field had just come home from a 5-games series in another state. The announcer said that every game this month, a different section of the military will present the colors, military personnel will sing the national anthem, and there will be special fly-overs for certain games. I did not really take much notice until the opening ceremonies started. The Navy gentlemen presented the colors to the crowd, and as they marched on to the field, every military man and women stood, at attention, focused on the flag. I took notice. As the National Anthem began, these men and woman did not waiver in their focus nor their attention. And then the microphone cut out…the crowd could no longer hear the voice on the field singing about the rockets’ red glare. However, softly at first and then deafening by the end, the crowd began to sing. And all the while, the men and women did not lose focus nor attention. But the three Navy boys seating next to me started crying. As did I. Here we were, a stadium full of 5000 people, singing the National Athem. As the colors were presented. As the military was honored. As America was honored.

The 5-game home series left me in an emotional wreck. A Navy captain retired by walking the bases, ending under a tunnel of Navy gentlemen, in dress uniform, holding their swords. The Blue Angels fly over. The National Anthem was placed on a better sound system, but still the crowd could be heard. I sit here and type this, and my eyes are watering. And my heart is warm.

No matter the distress or distaste some people have with aspects of this country, be it our government, our economy, or whatever, that 5-game series at a baseball stadium is beyond price to me. I have never felt so proud to call this nation my home. Never had more faith in our service men and women. Never believed so strongly that underneath all of our individual crap, the citizens here are still united. We will carry the flag when asked or not. We will sing the National Anthem when prompted or not. We will stand with our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and whoever to just feel like we are still together.

And that pride, that overwhelming sense of “Dang, this is OUR home,” that acknowledgement of those lost, those here, and those yet to come, that unity…that was beyond price.

 

Alyssa Anderson currently lives in Pensacola, FL and is working towards her Master’s in Community Health Education, specializing in Health Promotion. Aside from kicking butt in school, she loves to read nonsense, attempt DIY crafts, and switch up her workouts daily. She feels her mission in life is to show employees that working 40+ hours a week is no excuse to sacrifice their personal, social, and financial health and wellness. 

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