Last weekend we went to the Memorial Day parade. I was sure that I heard the Daniel Hand band playing the British national anthem - which seemed odd given the events of the late 18th century.
Then on Friday we went to our fourth graders school performance at which the kids sung "America - my Country tis' of thee". Nobody except me & my wife seemed to realize how significant the tune was.
In case the significance is lost, the tune to this patriotic classic in the USA, is the British national anthem!
It could have seemed sacreligious for our English children to be singing US patriotic words to the tune of "God Save the Queen" on the diamond jubilee weekend. But it didn't.
One big difference we have noticed between the USA & the UK is patriotism. In the UK over my lifetime it has become very unfashionable to be patriotic. Political correctness has overruled any pride in our country. Pride in our nation in the UK has become associated with very right wing politics.
This might seem strange when you look at the jubilee images on TV from London this weekend. Or the Olympic celebrations later this summer. Both of which I am sure will be spectacular.
But I doubt that this attitude will be maintained. It is no longer engrained in the national psyche because we do not engender national pride in our children in the UK.
My 7 year old son commented that he didn't even know that Britain had a National anthem. The kids never sung the anthem at school in England. And even if they had done, not once does it refer to pride in our nation, only in our monarch.
I compare this to the experience that they have at school here in Madison. Every day they pledge allegiance to the flag. As soon as they hear the national anthem they know to turn towards, and respect, the flag. The national anthem talks of pride in the values of the nation, not it's current president.
It strikes me that the society here is very respectful - from children to adults, from everyone towards the nation & what it stands for.
I think that the UK has lost that pride over the last few decades. Don't underestimate the strength that this pride & respect gives the USA. It is truly something to be proud of - and difficult to recreate having lost it, as we seem to have done in the UK.