|The sound of the National Anthem being
sung always gives me chills and evokes a strong feeling of
pride in my country, which I learned as a child. This
overpowering sense of patriotism wasn't learned in a
classroom, but was absorbed while watching a thin, quiet man
of 75 in his own living room.|
When our parents went out for the evening, my older brother
and I stayed overnight at my grandparents' house and slept
on their sun porch. Iowa summers were short, but even the
nights were warm. Lying on the porch glider, listening to
the June bugs buzz and pop at the screens, I wasn't sure if
this was a neat adventure or whether I was really scared.
From his sleeping bag on the floor, my brother exulted in
whispering terrorizing stories of what those creepy noises
at the screen might really be.
Being only 7 years old and given the ghostly stories, I was
greatly relieved that through the doorway I could see the
top of a bald head and the dim flicker of the black and
white television dancing on the walls. Grampa was certainly
not a superhero figure, being only a Studebaker salesman and
all, but his presence was quite comforting nonetheless.
It was the fifties and in those days television “signed off”
after the news and weather at 10:00. But, before signing
off, they always played the National Anthem and showed
pictures of beautiful countryside and our flag.
As the drum roll began and before the “Oh
say, can you see,” Grampa rose from the sofa and stood
straight and tall and I could see his right arm go up to
cover his heart. Alone in his living room, silently, this
gentle man instilled in his grandchildren a sense of
allegiance and pride that can never be erased.
Dedicated to the memory of William Robison