Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Shoulder to Shoulder

Some people were angry at the US travel order on Thursday, where army personnel were banned from going within the M25. Apart from the fact that in light of the disinformation given much of the time on Thursday, keeping army personnel out of unnecessary danger was a perfectly reasonable decision to make, it sparked off a lot of comment (since removed) from the BBC website that it was pretty typical of the Americans. Rather than wanting to stand shoulder to shoulder with us, they run at the first sign of trouble.

Last night was the baseball All-Star Game. Coverage of baseball is pretty patriotic at the best of times, even though many of the league's top stars are from outside of America. After 9/11, league authorities decided all caps and uniforms would carry the American flag. The traditional 7th inning song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was replaced by a singing of God Bless America. Just last night, commentators were lauding figures for the highest career batting averages from non-American players. There is, suffice to say, a fair amount of nationalism in the Major Leagues.

At the celebration of the best players in the league last night, however, there was another tune to be heard. A minute's silence was held for the victims of the London bombings; then a brass band played the British national anthem. It may not have seemed much, but I can say with certainty that last night, I found that very moving. There wasn't any need for them to do it - indeed, to the vast majority of Britons, it will have passed them by completely. But I know that America does appreciate our support, and at this time they feel our pain.