It was only a few days ago when we celebrated the independence of our country. Truly, one of the most exciting holidays of the year. A group of my closest friends and I planned together the perfect 4th of July. Everyone spent the morning cooking a special dish we would later share at a potluck-type picnic while watching the traditional fireworks. I was in charge of bringing the beverages.. Iced tea and lemonade, and a bit of a “Russian kick” to spice it up. After the baking and cooking duties were completed, we spent some quality friend-time playing putt-putt golf in the blazing Austin sun. Then, we made our way out to the shore of the lake, where the Austin Symphony was playing a free concert prior to the fireworks show.
The evening was spectacular, families and groups of friends all gathered out in the park with their picnic blankets and lawn chairs enjoying a good time while dressed in the red, white and blue while a lonely striped and starred flag flew against a setting sun. As the sun started to hide behind the western horizon, the symphony played the national anthem culminating with those lines that inevitably always bring tears to my eyes, “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?.” The evening continued to glow with national pride until the culminating point of the festivity, when the now dark sky was illuminated by beautiful and multi-colored fireworks which brought joy and awe to the several thousand of people watching at the lakeshore and surrounding areas.
At that moment, I reflected what the 530 athletes who will be representing us at the Olympics will feel every time the national anthem is played during the London Olympic, which will start only a few days from now. For an instant, I was transported a few days into the future, to London, and went through the opening ceremony, the moments leading to competition, the new records to be set, the tears of joy and the smiles that all those athletes representing the United States of America would experience… and I suddenly felt in unity with rest of the world with no hate, judgment, or prejudice against anyone or anything. Instead, a unique feeling of friendship, community and joy uniting five continents represented by five rings… all united by the flame of friendship and fair play… Good luck to the Team USA as it embarks into this amazing adventure.