Today I noticed that Casablanca had shown up on my ReplayTV, so I fast-forwarded it to the La Marseillaise -- by far my favorite part of the movie. Reproduced here in case anybody doesn't remember it.
Music stirs me in fascinating ways. It can often tug at my emotions far better than words or pictures. But more than that, watching music evoke feelings in other people moves me just as much. This scene, with all the displaced French singing the song of their homeland to drown out the Germans, always tears me up a little. The pride and determination voiced with song -- even if it is just a movie, it still echoes of truth.
I felt a similar stirring of emotion here in my own country, back on 9-11-2001. I remember vividly seeing on television that night the US congress, standing on the white house steps, singing God Bless America. With all the insanity that has happened since, it somewhat belittles that moment. But watching those men and women -- not politicians but people -- horrified and helpless in the face of a national tragedy, standing there singing "...my home sweet home". All differences put aside, representatives of both parties shoulder to shoulder, all grieving but expressing love for the country that they had chosen to serve. It awed me.
It still does, because that is the way I think we as human beings ought to be. Shoulder to shoulder, supporting one another through life, even when our views may differ. Sometimes it seems to me that words like honor, dignity, integrity, pride, discipline, don't mean much any longer, that they aren't values that people strive for. But I think they should be; I think that passion is about more than bedroom games.
Somebody once asked me if I was patriotic. That's almost an insult or an embarrassment these days, but I said Yes. My country is like my family: I don't always approve of what my family may do, but they are my family and I love my family. I don't like everything the people in my country choose to do, but I love my country nonetheless.
So this got a little off-topic. I can be very idealistic at times. I'll step down from my soapbox now.