Birthday Weekend Part 3

Sunday

This morning I worked for a few hours on a system upgrade, which went really smoothly. Then I came home and chilled out until I headed over to Doyle’s (a local bar) to watch the USA vs Portugal match.

Before the game everyone was cheering the American side (especially Dempsey), and booing Portugal (and especially Ronaldo). When the anthem played, everyone stood up, removed their hats, placed their hands over their hearts, and sang along. I knew what I had to do. Standing with my hand on my chest, I sang along. It was a defining moment for me: being part of an American sports crowd singing the national anthem of my country. I was no longer just an American ‘on paper’. I was an American for real. I was home. I belonged. I was part of the crowd, a member of the team, part of the population. I was just another American singing the anthem.

I’ve written about that issue in the shadows of this blog. I’ve been working through the problems of dual citizenship, being a dual national, and having two national identities. I moved here to establish my American identity, all the while running into more and more ‘Australian-ness’. That moment was a huge step and a big milestone towards becoming a true American.

Side note:
My appreciation of America is not blind patriotism, or the ironic ‘murica’, but genuine confidence in the potential for America to be great. At one point we all cheered: ‘I believe that we will win.’ That describes exactly how I feel about America. On the world stage playing football, and in general.

Anyway, the game was a draw, which makes America’s progression more difficult but not impossible. The emotion and memory of those 90 minutes at Doyle’s will be with me forever.

‘Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.’

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