There are three unquestionable loyalties evident here in the South West of America. Patriotism: evident in the proliferation of flags here. Utter unequivocal commitment to the armed forces: illustrated by everything from standing ovations to military personnel at public events and concessions for military personnel at all public museums and buildings. Faith: displayed in everything from historic monuments to bibles on sale in chemists.
Today we went to SeaWorld, San Antonio. An amazing experience for adults and children alike. My family
love killer whales and we were so excited about watching the Shamu show. We were certainly not disappointed. Just before the show began, amidst the build up created with music and emotive images on the big screen the presenter called for all the military personnel present in the building to stand up. Across the auditorium random people stood up and the whole audience then cheered and gave them a round of applause. In almost every public venue we have paid to enter- mostly museums- the concessions for entry have included seniors, students and Military personnel. It reminds me of my last visit, probably then around the time of the Gulf war, when Colin and I were asked at the dinner table of a friend to 'bow our heads in prayer for our boys in battle'. With the advent of charities such as Help for Heroes Brits have, I feel, become more aware of the impact of battle on serving men and women but this does not equal the pride of Americans in their serving men and women.
So what place does faith hold here? It
seems that multiculturality is accepted and embraced, particularly by the younger generation but it does seem that while in England we do have incidences of racism, such as during the riots, our cultures across Britain are
more diverse. I live, of course, in a city which has clear evidence of Multi-ethnicity. Here in the South West of America there is still strong evidence that the bible belt is as much a part of the area's personality as Tornados.
To enter a chemist and see bibles
on display as obviously as the magazines pertaining to Southwestern fashion and fayre is unusual to a Brit. Sitting in a restaurant in Dallas with the kids I witnessed a 30-something dad close by bow his head in silent prayer. And the churches are more frequently located than Starbucks.
Finally, patriotism. To illustrate this I need only suggest that readers look closely at my photos on FB to see that it hasn't been hard to include Old Glory in every photo. Pride and patriotism pervade.