I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, not one commercial, not one second of the entire broadcast.
But on Sunday night I was intrigued by a Facebook friend’s comment, one saying he would never again buy another Coke product because of a commercial that aired during the game.
I read through the more than 20 comments posted in less than an hour, and only one person thought that the commercial was a positive thing.
What I gathered was that people were none too happy because in this commercial “America the Beautiful” was sung in not just English, but other languages, too.
My first thought, before even seeing the commercial, was that the commercial sort of exemplifies what and why America is America.
After watching the commercial on the Internet on Monday, that sentiment was solidified.
It was beautiful.
I know some folks will say that they get that this country is a melting pot, but people should learn English. Well, those that become citizens, I think, for the most part do because they must to make it here. But they likely came here first, to this place that would become their home, speaking a different language.
You have to crawl before you can walk, right?
My grandmother came to America as a teenager. She spoke German. And at the time she emigrated here, in between the first and second world wars, her native tongue was not a popular one to be hearing. But she learned English. She became a part of her new country, but she never lost the country where she came from. She passed some of that on to us. And for the rest of her life, her English was laid heavy with her native tongue, so much so that she could have spoken a language all her own and one that only those who were around her all the time could understand.
So much of the outrage in regard to this commercial, judging by a majority of the comments I have seen, is based on immigrants not learning English or assimilating into their new culture.
Well, I just don’t think this is what the commercial was about. What it’s about is that we are all here and from all over the world at different points in history.
And American culture, if anyone can really put a finger on that, is a mixed bag of many cultures.
But we are one nation, no matter what language you speak at home.
Watch the commercial’s behind-the-scenes footage. It’s interesting. It’s touching. “It’s the whole world in one country,” one of the people in the video said.
Yeah it is. And, that’s our America.
As far as I have ever known, Native Americans were the ones here before everyone else started showing up. It was their America before it was ours.
Is “America the Beautiful” sung in any one of the many tribal tongues of Native Americans something that would get folks’ hackles up, too?
It is likely not many of us can trace our American roots more than a few generations before they start crossing oceans in different directions, tracing the paths our ancestors took to get here.
It is likely most came here with their native tongue forming every word that they spoke. It was their first language. It was the language in which they first learned the words mother, love, peace. Then they came here and learned another language.
This became home for them and future generations. But they still dreamed in their first language and they taught it to their children because they were rooted in the heritage from which it came, even though they have come to this place where all are supposed to be welcome so that they could find freedom and hope and put down some new roots.
That is something that makes America beautiful.
If I moved away, made another country my home, I would learn the language, but I would always remember my first language. It’s the language with which I formed my first words, the language of my childrens’ first words. It is the language of my dreams, the language through which I first learned to define the world around me.
Even if I found another place to call home, America would always be my first home and a part of everything that I am, no matter where I lay my head.
That is true for anyone, and especially here in our country. We are a country that is like a patchwork quilt sewn together little by little over the years. Every person, every culture through America’s existence, has contributed a square. No matter how small or large, they have given something to this quilt.
There is the common thread that we all call this land of the free and home of the brave ours. A common thread is that the majority of us got to be Americans because those who came before us came here from somewhere else first.
That quilt would be a beautiful picture of diversity. It would contain every color ever witnessed, it would encompass the bigness of dreams, it would carry the memories of those who have pieced it together. And while most of those memories would be from foreign lands, they are remembered here on American soil.
Every race, culture, ethnicity – you name it – they are represented and there is room enough for everyone ‘neath the Stars and Stripes. America is my home and your home, too.
So, if you want to sing the songs of your country, our country, in the language of your heart, your heritage, you go right ahead.
This is my America and it’s your America.
And to me, in any language, America is beautiful.