NY Yankees vs. Boston Red Socks – September 10, 2005
Usually sung by a pop star or a military band, today’s national anthem is a prerecorded tape. Still, it does not stop the 55,000 or so baseball fans from standing ceremoniously, baseball caps over their hearts, some singing, most not. A few brave souls screech out “and the rockets red glare,” notes off key, but enthusiastic. Boston gets the early lead and keeps it the whole game. By the seventh inning stretch, discouraged Yankee fans debate leaving early and red Boston jerseys overtake the stadium. The cheers for Boston overpower those for the Yankees, and if you are not paying attention to the plays, you have to be careful not to cheer for the wrong team. Seventh inning stretch – “God Bless America,” usually sung by the famous Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, is also piped in, prerecorded. Again, the hats go to the hearts and a stadium full of people belt out “God bless America.” Over the last two seasons, nationalism enthralls the crowd during the seventh inning stretch. Army parachuters land on the field. Military jets fly over the stadium in impressive formations. Cadets parade stadium-sized flags over the field. It is rah rah patriotism all the way. Twelve year old boys “ooh” and “ah” high five each other and say, “Cool,” or “Awesome,” but fall short of wanting to fly immediately to Iraq, at least for now. A moment of silence to honor our military men and women fighting to protect our way of life has gradually become a moment of silent prayer to protect our way of life. At least today, on September 10th, the eve of the fourth anniversary of the attack on September 11th, that prayer has no words to include the victims of the attack four years ago, no words of prayer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In a 55,000 person filled stadium, is no one praying to protect the way of life of the people of New Orleans? I do not know when the seventh inning stretch became a recruiting tool for the military, but today the words of “God bless America” rang hollow, and I sat myself down, hat on head, too sad to sing.