Last Thanksgiving, some of you may recall the football game that kicked off with what may be the longest-ever version of the National Anthem. Though it is typically around two minutes, legendary singer Aretha Franklin stretched the song to a full four minutes and 35 seconds before a matchup between the Lions and the Vikings.
On that day I was at the end of the line for a Thanksgiving feast and very hungry. The television was on in the background leading up to the game when I had finally gotten my massive plate full of Thanksgiving food and sat down to eagerly feast.
I didn’t even notice what was on the television across the room, and neither did anyone else, except for my seven-year-old son. I shoveled the first heaping fork full of food into my mouth to kick off one of my favorite meals of the year.
I quickly scooped up my next fork full but stopped with the food halfway to my mouth when I saw my son, sitting up on his knees in his chair beside me with his hand over his heart watching the waving American flag on the television. I REALLY wanted to keep eating, but I have learned that some things are more important than my stomach. This was probably one of them.
I sat down my fork and placed my hand upon my chest in support of my son who was supporting his country. My stomach growled menacingly, but it would only be a minute or two before I could resume my feast. So there we sat in a room full of diners unaware of what was happening with our focus on the flag and the various shots of the singer at the piano. The volume was down very low but I could occasionally make out parts of the song. I strained my ears and picked up “The rocket’s red glare” and a couple of other bits and pieces as the aroma of the incredible food before me was almost overpowering. And then I heard “home of the braaaaave” and issued a sigh of relief. I got ready to resume eating, but the then song kept going, and going and going. My son sat stalwartly watching the flag on the screen. I did the same.
After lunch I patted my overly filled belly with contentment, but I got even more satisfaction from that little bit of patriotism beside me at the Thanksgiving table that day — one of many, many reasons to be thankful.