Video o’ the day

| September 15, 2008

This has been showing up in various places; I finally watched it and was moved:

An observation on the closing song. Back in the summer of 2001, my wife Sandra and I attended the graduation from US Army boot camp (Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri) of our daughter Heather, who had joined the Utah Army National Guard as a Russian counterintelligence liguist (she had spent 18 months in Russia as an LDS missionary and was pursuing a BA degree in Russian). She had been doing the usual weekend meetings during the previous school year but now had to go through boot itself.

The graduation ceremony in the base auditorium started with a slide show about boot training and about serving in the US Army. The enlistees themselves were not yet in the auditorium; it was the parents, siblings, sweethearts, and other friends sitting there. I forget whether there was any narration or other music during the slide show; what I do remember is that it ended accompanied by Lee Greenwood’s recording of “I’m proud to be an American.” Why I remember that is because a large portion of the audience — perhaps the majority — sang right along with Lee.

I was startled. While I was certainly familiar with and liked the song, I didn’t know it well enough to sing along. But a great many people in that auditorium did know the song that well and were quite willing to sing it out loud. Sandra and I were living in Washington DC at that time, and had flown in for the graduation from my home town of  San Diego (where we were holding our semi-annual family reunion with all our kids) — and I was willing to bet that if I rounded up a hundred people at random from either place, only a handlful would be able to sing those lyrics. That incident gave me a visceral feeling for the real cultural gap between the Coasts and the Heartland. I knew it intellectually, but this was a dramatic demonstration of the reality of that gap  (The same gap, I believe, is behind the strikingly different reactions to Gov. Palin’s nomination as VP.)

For what it’s worth.  ..bruce w..

[UPDATED 09/15/08 – 1701 MDT — made a few minor corrections]

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Category: 2008 Election, Commentary, Geopolitics, Main, Military, Music, US Politics, Video

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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