Why are Americans so
united? They don't resemble one another even if
you paint them all one colour! They speak all the languages of
the world and form an astonishing mixture of
civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct,
others are incompatible with one another, and in
matters of religious beliefs, not even God can
count how many they are. Still, the American
tragedy turned three hundred million people into
a hand put on the heart.
Nobody rushed to accuse
the White House, the army, the secret services
that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody
rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody
rushed on the streets nearby to gape about.
Americans volunteered to donate blood and to
give a helping hand. After the first moments of
panic, they raised the flag on the smoking
ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the
colours of the national flag. They placed flags
on buildings and cars as if in every place and
on every car a minister or the president was
passing. On every occasion they started singing
their traditional song: "God Bless
Silent as a rock, I watched the charity
concert broadcast on Saturday once, twice, three
times, on different TV channels. There were
Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro,
Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay, Jack Nicholson,
Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stalone, James
Wood, and many others whom no film or producers
could ever bring together. The American's
solidarity spirit turned them into a choir.
Actually, choir is not the word. What you could
hear was the heavy artillery of the American
soul. What neither George W. Bush, nor Bill
Clinton, nor Colin Powell could say without
facing the risk of stumbling over words and
sounds, was being heard in a great and
unmistakable way in this charity concert.
don't know how it happened that all this
obsessive singing of America didn't sound
croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious! It made
you green with envy because you weren't able to
sing for your country without running the risk
of being considered chauvinist, ridiculous, or
suspected of who-knows-what mean interests.
watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its
rerun for hours listening to the story of the
guy who went down one hundred floors with a
woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she
was, or of the Californian hockey player, who
fought with the terrorists and prevented the
plane from hitting a target that would have
killed other hundreds or thousands of people.
How on earth were they able to sacrifice for
their fellow humans?
Imperceptibly, with every
word and musical note, the memory of some turned
into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with
every phone call, millions and millions of
dollars were put in a collection aimed at
rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit
which nothing can buy.
What on earth can unite the Americans in such
a way? Their land? Their galloping history?
Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours
to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring
phrases which risk of sounding like
commonplaces. I thought things over, but I
reached only one conclusion.
Only freedom can work such miracles!
This article written by Mr.
Nistorescu and published under the title
"C"ntarea Americii meaning "Ode
To America") on September 24, 2002 in the
Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei ("The
Daily Event" or "News of the
permission to reprint this article, please