Monday, May 2, 2011

One Shining "Moment"

As you've learned from 86 posts over the past 5 months, basketball and sports in general are a huge part of my life. If sports is my major, than history is my minor. In fact, I was a broadcast journalism major in college, accompanied by a minor in history. My interest for history probably stems from stories that my parents told my siblings and me growing up, about historical events from their childhood and early adulthood years; where they were when JFK was assassinated, etc. I remember taking great interest in JFK, Watergate and other historical events of the 60s and 70s, thanks to first hand accounts from my parents memories.

My generation had our first "moment" on September 11, 2001. We all can remember where we were, what we were doing, what we were wearing on that Tuesday morning that changed the world forever. Me, I was waking up to go to a morning class, was about to hop in the shower when a roommate alerted me to news coverage that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. Three hours later, I was still on the couch with that shower towel still wrapped around me (I had a pair of shorts on too - get your mind out of the gutter). As a journalism student at the time, I hit record on the VCR and watched Peter Jennings and company deliver the news throughout the day. It was the beginning of a new world that we would now live in.

Just over seven years later, I had another "moment." On an unseasonably warm night in early November, I joined a couple of my closest hundred-thousand friends at Grant Park in Chicago, to be a part of history, as Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America. That night brought a sense of hope, change, history, and it rejuvenated my interest in history and the politics of our country.

Obama, National Security Team and US Armed Forces get the job done (NYT)
That brings us to May 1, 2011. A normal Sunday night in the Daily Onions household: dinner on the grill, 60 Minutes, paying some bills, getting ready for the week to come. The First Lady and I decided to watch an episode of Friday Night Lights to end the weekend. At the conclusion of the show, there seemed to be nothing on TV, so I reverted to throwing on CNN. It was about 9:10 pm CST, and as we turned on CNN, we saw the report that POTUS would be speaking to the country at approximately 9:30 pm CST. The reports did not say what he'd be talking about, so I immediately took to Twitter to see what else I could find out. For the first 10-15 minutes, there was nothing substantial. Then as time went on, POTUS's speech was being pushed back and reports of Osama Bin Laden being killed and captured were being confirmed on Twitter. Moment.

I don't think I've refreshed Twitter as much as I did over the next two hours. I wanted as much information as possible - all my former journalism teachers/professors would be proud. Then, just as we waited on Election Night back in 2008, we waited once again to hear directly from Obama. Once again, he approached the podium with that swagger, and told us how things went down. Even the vague details of the secret mission and firefight gave you the chills. The speech was thoughtful, well-written and delivered nearly flawlessly. The final lines made me proud to be an American, and made me forget about the nonsense that has divided our great country over the past few months.

But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place. Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Best Picture: FDNY (NYT)
Guaranteed those words will be put in the history books (will they still have books then?) that our children will be using in classes for years to come. Along with those words, they'll see all the memorable pictures from Ground Zero, outside of the White House and other locations around the country where crowds gathered to show their US pride. Just when you thought we'd have an entire post with no real sports mention, I have to talk about the fact that the crowd at the Mets-Phillies game broke out into a USA chant when they heard the news (in the 9th inning, with the score tied at, and that college campuses across the country acted as if their team had just won a National Championship. This is what our country should be about.

May 1st, 2011. The night that President Obama, Commander-in-Chief,  made the official announcement that Osama Bin Laden was dead. The night that POTUS gave new meaning to "walk-off" as he took the confident swagger back into the White House offices after delivering the news to the world. The night that all Americans collectively celebrated and said THANK YOU to all the US troops that have put their lives on the line, to ensure our country remains safe. Your time, energy, intelligence, courage, bravery and effort should be recognized and commended every day. May 1st, 2011. Another "moment" we'll be able to tell our kids about, thanks to the men and women that protect us every day.

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