With all the controversy around the national anthem lately, Athena decided she didn't want to deal with it at church and therefore chose no patriotic songs for sacrament meeting. When we actually got to sacrament meeting (early as usual, so I can play prelude music), there was some discussion and we all decided to change the opening hymn to "America the Beautiful" after all. We think that one should be okay regardless of people's complaints about America, because one of the lines is, "God mend thine every flaw." It admits that the US isn't perfect, and while celebrating what's good about it, it prays that what's bad about it can be fixed.
I do really like the patriotic songs, too, so after the meeting I played "I Am a Child of God" for one postlude number then flipped to the patriotic songs and started playing them. By the time I got to "The Star-Spangled Banner," pretty much everybody had left the chapel except for the tech guy, who was taking down all his equipment after broadcasting the meeting via Zoom for the folks who are still worshipping from home. He heard it and said, "That's what I've been waiting for." That really got me, because this isn't just some old white dude. He's about our age, and he's an immigrant from Indonesia. When I finished with "The Star-Spangled Banner," he asked if I could play "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
I guess it was just a nice reminder that, even with all its flaws, there are still things to like about the USA, and it's okay to sing about it.
Today I'm thankful for feeling much better today than we did yesterday, getting to finish reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, getting to read some lovely shoujo manga, having a lovely fast and testimony meeting, and not having to deal with a warzone of fireworks every night of the year (it just got to be dark enough that you can see them well, which I guess is why they seemed to suddenly get even louder). And of course, living in a free country.