Patriotism, I like to keep it simple as I knew growing up. Picture in your mind the portraits of Norman Rockwell. The united American family, peaceful neighborhoods, children neatly dressed, homes well-kept and decorated. American flags flying about as neighborhoods swelled with loving pride, Boy Scouts troops were about. Patriotism is not possible without pride. I remember as a youngster how my love of country showed when I would get goosebumps big as marbles whenever I heard a band play a patriotic song at an event. I attended a parochial school and we said the Pledge of Allegiance before every class and concluded by singing God Bless America. There was always an American flag in every classroom.
Unfortunately, patriotism is not ever present, it comes in waves, especially when our country is harmed. The bombing of Pearl Harbor evoked massive patriotism and brought an enormous response of coming together because we had a common cause, we were under attack; 9/11 was another case but it was short-lived. Patriotism today is probably at its lowest ebb ever now and almost non-existent among the millennials. Senior citizens are the last bastion of patriotism due to the hardships their memories recall, commensurate with their insatiable appetite for freedom and love of country.
With all this as a background, you can understand why a senior community like SunBird would bring together a patriotic tribute on this Fourth of July. They did it with music, they did it with genuine emotion and they did it because of love of neighbor and faith in their country.
The musical tribute produced by Maddy Paschal and Norm Littrell was done with love of country and sincere pride. A very large talented contingent participated in the show. There were solos, duets, groups, readers, dancers and every possible act necessary to present a versatile variety tribute program on patriotism. The only thing missing was the fireworks which are not permitted indoors. The songs were well-selected to bring a nostalgia of different time periods of yore. Songs from WWI, songs from WWII, provocative songs, love songs depicting different phases of the war years, catchy tunes that kept us together as a country, novelty tunes that made us unique, inspirational songs that reinforces our hope and feel good uplifting salutes to our heroes that gave a feeling of togetherness and independence. Many people found themselves unwittingly singing along. In the past, these songs united us as a force so strong that it overwhelmed our adversaries.
The musical tribute had it all, which is a testament to the producers. Too bad this warm feeling and devotion to country and flag cannot persist. In today’s world only 25 percent of Americans still feel we are the best country and probably the majority of those are seniors who lived and fought to appreciate what we have.
On a bright note, one of the last survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack, Jack Holder, 93 years of age, was present. His fiancée, Ruth, is a long-time resident of SunBird. Jack gave an interesting account of his illustrious career. A true American hero in our midst, we should feel proud and privileged.