I have been a die hard baseball fan since I was a young boy. My family used to have Angels season tickets and I loved going to games.
I loved eating peanuts and dropping the shells on the ground. I loved the crack of the bat and the sound that came from a fastball hitting the catcher's mitt. I loved singing the national anthem before the game and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch.
To me, there are few things more American than going to a baseball game with my family. Baseball has long been referred to as America’s pastime and will always be the unofficial sport of our nation.
The following is a note that my father shared with his local congregation. I felt it appropriate to publish as it echoes the love that I have for baseball, and more importantly, my country—the United States of America. I hope that you enjoy.
“On this July 4 weekend, we celebrate a national holiday, Independence Day. Independence Day means different things to different people—fireworks, barbeques, family vacations, etc.
Friday night I was at the Angels versus Dodgers game at Anaheim Stadium. Baseball games are a great place to show your patriotism, your colors, your affiliation.
The game starts with singing the national anthem, putting your hand over your heart and looking out into center field where nation’s flag flies proudly as the gentle breeze blows in over the ocean.
Unfortunately my team didn’t win, but that is a different story. Fortunately, I observed something that touched my heart and made this Independence Day a little more meaningful to me.
As local fans know, on Friday nights, the Angels sponsor “Big Bang Friday Night Fireworks.” Since we were sitting in the nosebleed section of the stadium, we changed our seats to see the fireworks. We sat behind a family of four all wearing red.
As the fireworks started with a patriotic song I noticed the father reach over and pat his older son—around 20 years old—on the back in a loving, appreciative way and they exchanged a thoughtful glance at each other. My first thought was they were just having a fun family activity and the father was showing a little love.
As the program went on, I noticed the young man wiping his eyes as if drying tears. Then I noticed that he had a short military style hair cut and was in great shape. My mind took me to what may have been going on in this family scene.
Did the young man just get back from one of the wars overseas? How long had it been since this family was together?
How did the son feel as he heard the patriotic songs accompanied by beautiful but artificial “bombs bursting in air” as compared to what he may have recently experienced?
I thought about how blessed we are to live in a country where our young men and young women protect our freedoms in foreign lands and how little our homeland is impacted by the actual calamities of war.
I would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all those who have served or who are now serving to protect this great country’s freedom and independence, especially that young man who sat in front of me last night.
Have a wonderful Independence Day!”