Monday, May 2, 2011

So Proud To Be An American

On September 11th, 2001 I was just a few days in to my freshman year at the University of Denver. We didn't even have a television for our dorm room yet. We first heard about everything via a phone call from my roommates parents and rushed down to the commons area of our dorm to view the days events as they unfolded on a big screen. I sat there in tears along with 50 other brand new college students who were also lacking televisions. When I entered that room I didn't know a single one of them and as I left we were one American family.

Last night I was preparing to watch Brothers and Sisters while skyping with my mom and sister. Something we do every Sunday to ensure we see each other at least once a week. Instead we learned together of the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. troops. While it was great to be "with" my family as we found out, I also felt this desire to be able to share last night's experience with those same 50 students that I had cried with on September eleventh. To come full circle and know that justice had been served would have been an amazing moment to share with them.

Nonetheless, last night was no less memorable. I wanted to run out into the middle of the street and shoot off fireworks, but I doubt my suburban neighborhood would have appreciated that. Plus I had none on hand. Instead, I sat in awe. Sure, the news reporters were interesting, and the President's speech brought me to tears, but what grabbed at my heart strings the most were the live shots of Americans waving our flag in victory as they chanted "nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey heyyyyy, goodbye!" It was hearing a reporter's story, who was midair on a plane when the news broke, of how her fellow passengers celebrated. And it was watching the reactions of sports fans at the Mets/Phillies baseball game as they began chanting "USA USA USA" after news quickly spread throughout the stadium via smart phones and word of mouth. What I wouldn't give to be in any one of those crowds when the news broke.

For me it will always be the sense of American unity that intrigues me the most when tragedy strikes or triumph prevails.

Ironically, I spent Friday and Saturday building a two layer, half sheet cake for my husband's uncle's birthday party. With 180 people in attendance it had to look good. The birthday boy is one of the most patriotic people I know, ending every voicemail with "And God Bless America". This coupled with the fact that it was his 50th birthday, his wife and I thought an America theme would be fitting. 50 states for 50 years. So I went to work building his cake. Six cake mixes, five 2-pound bags of powdered sugar, and 4.5 bags of mini marshmallows later and the above picture is what you get. Who would have known on Saturday night at his party how fitting this cake would become.

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