The Greatest Play in Baseball History
I will give any of you who can identify the story behind this photo a patriotic hi five without Googling and before clicking below for the information. (A video clip of the incident appears in my Madison Rising video).
Hint: It occurred on April 26th of our bicentennial year....
Second hint: Even though today is a Thursday, this is a story about Monday...
The hero of this story is Rick Monday.
Monday was playing center field for the Chicago Cubs on April 25, 1976, at Dodger Stadium when he noticed two protesters kneeling on the grass in left-center, intending to burn the American flag. He immediately bolted toward them and snatched it away.
"I was angry when I saw them start to do something to the flag, and I'm glad that I happened to be geographically close enough to do something about it," said Monday, now in his 13th season as a Dodgers broadcaster.
"What those people were doing, and their concept of what they were trying to do was wrong. That feeling was very strongly reinforced by six years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. I still think it's wrong to do that."
"Whatever their protest was about, what they were attempting to do to the flag _ which represents a lot of rights and freedoms that we all have _ was wrong for a lot of reasons," Monday said. "Not only does it desecrate the flag, but it also desecrates the effort and the lives that have been laid down to protect those rights and freedoms for all of us."
Whenever the National Anthem is played at sporting events and my eyes rivet upon Old Glory, my eyes inevitably begin to mist. What passes through your thoughts in these moments? It is a moment for me to take in all the things I am grateful for: The many services and sacrifices of my fellow citizens throughout its 200+ year history, both ordinary and extraordinary. Even the "smallest" of acts has contributed to its shaping. You, yourself, matter in the grand scheme of things even if you feel insignificantly small.
And of course I think of all those I have heard of and read about and the countless many I have not nor will ever know about who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defending this great nation from enemies foreign and domestic. And I am thankful. Thankful to be born and raised an American.
With so much instability and crisis elsewhere on the globe, be grateful. Never take your citizenship for granted; nor the many blessings in your life today on account of it.
The next time that National Anthem plays and that Flag waves, please give it the courtesy of your full, undivided attention; and honor those who have come before and laid down their lives for that "piece of rag".