An Ode To America
In the public domain on the Internet
|Published in the December 2001 Issue of Anvil Magazine
Why are Americans so united? They don't resemble one another even if you paint them! They speak all languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of the cultures are nearly extinct, others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count how many there are. Still, the September 11th American tragedy turned 300 million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, or the Secret Service that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to gape about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking ruins putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car the President of the United States was passing by. On every occasion they started singing their traditional song, "God Bless America."
Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on a following Saturday, once, twice, three times, on different TV channels. There was Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Muhammed Ali, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stallone, James Woods, and many others whom no film or producer could ever have brought together in one place. The American's solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually, choir is not the word. What you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American soul. What neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton nor Colin Powell could say without facing the risk of stumbling over words and sounds was being heard in a great and unmistakable way in this charity concert. I don't know how it happened that all this obsessive singing of "God Bless America" didn't sound croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious! I watched the live broadcast. I then watched the rerun of it- for hours, listening to the story of the guy who went down 100 floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, and of the California hockey player who fought with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that would have killed other hundreds-or possibly even thousands-of people. How on earth were they able to bow before a fellow human? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit which has no price.
What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases. I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion. Only freedom can work such miracles...