Friday, July 6, 2012


In case you were wondering, the person to blame for the most annoying patriotic anthem ever is a man named Lee Greenwood.

Having first become cognizant of events happening in the world when I was in first or second grade, the anthemic, “Proud to be an American” was almost the theme song of Operation Desert Storm.  I’m almost forced to picture Patriot Missiles being launched over the backdrop of an American flag as the first verse concludes and the chorus begins:

“‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.
[Cue the lauching of missiles]
And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.”

This past week, Leora and I got an uber-dose of good-ole fashion patriotism.  To be fair, we went out looking for it.  On a base full of thousands of Americans who left their homes in order to fight for America, you almost expect to find the Sandlot Fourth of July scene recreated (or the Independence Day Alien Beat-down Scene – let’s not forget that this is a military installation). 

So on the 3rd of July (everybody is off on the fourth, so we celebrated on the 3rd), Leora and I bought an all-American Pizza and headed to a Park on Kadena AFB.
I have things that I could say about the initial band – an all-Japanese 60s/70s cover band that clearly learned all their songs while singing Karaoke (and not getting the words right).  I have less nice things to say about the actual band.  But when it comes down to it – who cares?  It was a band.  All bands in this venue are just the opening acts to the main event…the fireworks.

Kadena AFB matched up their fireworks to the soundtrack of America.

First the various service songs:  There don’t even need to be fireworks, how can one not get excited by Anchor’s Aweigh and the Marine Corps Hymn?  I can’t possibly imagine.

The fireworks became more nostalgic and slower for the Ray Charles’ version of “America the Beautiful”.  Some country song that I didn’t recognize followed that, I’m sure that some people really enjoyed it.  I, personally, used the opportunity to say “ooooh” and “ahhh”.  But then the finale.

Not the 1812 Overture.  Considering that we are celebrating the War of 1812, it might be fitting.  But I’m sure the organizers recognized that Tchaichovsky wrote the song as a memorial to the Russian actions in the Napoleonic Wars, and not as a salute to American resolve.  That’s why they finished with “Proud to be an American”.

And it was awesome.

The perfect fireworks.

The perfect finale.

But God if its not the most annoying song to get stuck in your head for the rest of the week.

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

One a side note:  According to Wikipedia:  “In November 2008, President George W. Bush appointed Greenwood to a six-year term to the National Council on the Arts.”  If every there was a reason to cut funding for the arts...

1 comment: