Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the tragic events in New York (and across America) when the Twin Towers were flown into by hijacked aeroplanes and then collapsed killing thousands of innocent people.
What has struck me in the last two years since living here in the States, is how well American people celebrate their pride in their nation and heritage ... whether it be commemorating events such as these, remembering those who have fought or who are fighting on behalf of their country or just celebrating the 4th of July! It is not unusual to see the Star Spangled Banner flying high throughout the year on houses and in towns and it isn't done to show superiority but to demonstrate a state of pride.
What a contrast to living in the UK ... flags can be seen during big international sporting events or when the British Royal Family are around but apart from that they seem to be more associated with the BNP (British National Party) a political extreme of nationalism which is not very popular and is extremely racist. There is also such a drive in the UK to be politically correct that certain councils have forbidden people to fly the British or English flags out of their windows for fear of offending anyone who lives nearby from a different culture and some of the men and women serving in the British army are encouraged not to wear their uniforms when walking around certain areas for fear of being targets of violent attacks ... how messed up is that?
In the UK, displaying a sense of pride in your country or your religion (if it's Christianity, which is the national religion) unless in specific circumstances, seems to be both frowned upon and discouraged and could even cost you your job or land you in prison. Crazy but true!! Until I lived in America, all the patriotism seemed to be a bit 'cheesy' to me, however now I'm here it's endearing and definitely something that we're missing in the UK except during certain special events.