Why are Americans
so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them
all one color! 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 there 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, and the secret services
that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank
accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about. The
Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.
After the first
moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting
on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed
flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government
official or the president was passing. On every occasion they started singing
their traditional song: "God Bless America!"
Silent as a
rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on Saturday once, twice,
three times, on different TV channels. There was Clint Eastwood, Willy
Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce
Springsteen, Sylvester Stallone, James Wood, and many others whom no film
or producers could ever bring together. The American's spirit of solidarity
turned them into a choir. Actually, choir is not the
you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American soul.
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 through this charity concert.
I 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 ulterior
I watched the
live broadcast and rerun after 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 gave his
life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting
a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.
How on earth
were they able to respond united as one human being? 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 no money 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 with the risk of sounding commonplace.
I thought things
over, but I reached only one conclusion...
can work such miracles!