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Tag Archives: Kingston Trio

The Sentimentality of Old Age

I’ve never liked our National Anthem. It’s a song about a war.  I’d prefer an anthem to be something like America the Beautiful.  But, not ours.  In some respects when you look at our history, maybe an anthem about a war makes sense.

I’ve also never been one to engage in displays of patriotism and I’m extremely put-off by those who do so.  All the flags and salutes and U-S-A chants just do nothing for me.  (It is, by the way, not just with respect to my country, but with respect to my teams as well.  Yes, I own a Giants hat and a couple of Giants T-Shirts, but other than those, I don’t own things that have my team names on them and I don’t have my car plastered with the stickers of my favorite teams.)  In other words, I’m mostly a quiet fan.  A quiet citizen.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of going to the SF Giants game 6 playoff against the Cardinals.  I took my oldest, who is a senior in high school.  We had a conversation about the current China-Japan dispute about some islands that consist of a grand total of 2 square miles (I think).  I used it as an example of the stupidity of nations.  He responded that was why wars were stupid and mentioned how many of the battles in World War I were fought over a mile of land.  Thousands of men died for the advantage of a mile here and a mile there.

I’m not a rah-rah kind of guy.  (Well, except when I’m cheering the Giants on in their place in Game 6 of the NLCS.)  I’d prefer that nationalism go the way of the dinosaur.  I don’t like labels and categories and divisions.  We aren’t, or shouldn’t be, Italian-Americans and African-Americans, gays or straights, Catholics or Jews or Atheists.  Instead, we should be Americans.  But, that actually isn’t enough either.  We should be people — just like the people who reside elsewhere.

Which makes my feeling during the national anthem yesterday so weird.  Maybe it’s my age — I find myself tearing up more these days at odd things.  Like this.  The sight of a huge American flag unfurled in the outfield, a tugboat shooting fountains of water into the air, and two jets flying over the stadium in an ear-shattering roar, while the Kingston Trio harmonized the national anthem.

Just plain weird.

Which is really my long-winded way of telling you that I got to see the game last night and we’re moving on to game 7 tonight.  Go Giants!

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