I’ve written about this before, both here and at Captain’s Quarters, and I don’t mind sharing it again on the day we celebrate Old Glory. Certainly our friends in the blogosphere today will share stories of famous battles such as Iwo Jima in which the American flag features a prominent role, but this moment belongs with them as a reminder that Americans here at home understand the value of the Stars and Stripes. Rick Monday adds his perspective thirty years later to what Major League Baseball included as one of its top 100 plays in its history:
I wrote this a year ago: In 1976, a sense of ennui had gripped the nation. In a year-long bicentennial celebration, many wondered if the economic stagnation that had lasted all decade meant that America’s best years were in the rear-view mirror. The commercialized bicentennial festivities felt forced and false. It seemed that pride in our country had dissipated into cynicism and retreat.
The unprompted, extemporaneous response to Monday’s heroics is the often untold story of that day. Over 40,000 baseball fans saw Monday risk his career by grabbing what could easily have been a fireball to rescue the American flag from a couple of asshats, and suddenly it recalled the real patriotism and passion for America that had been missing in 1976. At first in isolated pockets but soon sweeping around the stands like The Wave would later do, Americans stood up and sang “God Bless America” — not prompted by the stadium organist but fueled by love of country.
For my money, it’s the single best moment in sports. God bless Rick Monday, and God bless America.