I once had a friend tell me, “I’ve never been as patriotic as I am when I’m not living in the U.S.” And it’s times like this that I really can identify with that statement. I’ve always loved my country, don’t get me wrong, but it’s times like this week that make you realize how true and deep your roots lie in the center of your being. I may not know anyone personally affected by the tragedies that have taken place in Boston and Texas this week, but that does not make my heart leap out any less to those who are in the middle of the devastation. I’ve driven past the town of West countless times on my journeys to my beloved Austin, TX, and cannot begin to imagine the heartbreak and carnage that is raging in that tiny little Texan town.
If there is one good thing to come out of this week, it is the incredible generosity and strength of people in the face of the unimaginable. Whether it’s the armed forces, emergency personnel on the scene, civilian responses or the simple expression of pride in country, we are constantly reminded that we are a great nation. I hope that this week makes the political issues that sometimes polarize us seem silly and insignificant in the face of the big picture, and give us a fresh vantage point when we resume the inevitable debates. Because really all that matters in the end is faith in humanity. And this humanity expresses itself in many shapes and sizes: its apparent in a packed hockey arena in Boston belting out the national anthem, and it overflows in Texas through the hospitality of community. And that’s incredible.
I have never been able to get through the National Anthem without tears at least brimming, but I’ve had this video on repeat for the past 20 minutes and have not been able to stop the tears from flowing down my face. I may not be there in person, America, but my heart and spirit will never leave you.