There are two things I always remember on the most patriotic day of the year: I know all of the words to each United States military branch’s theme song (anthem?), and Lee Greenwood will haunt me for the rest of my life.

From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, I will forever be able to sing my childhood church’s beloved patriotic medley. Every Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and Independence Day, the choir leader would break out the trusty sheet music for us, and we’d go to town. But that’s not what this story is really about.

The story is really about Lee Greenwood scarring me.

Judging from the photo my dad likes to share on social media, I look to be about five or six. I would have tried to guess my age based on the release of his mega-hit “God Bless the USA,” but that came out in 1984, so that’s not much help.

While vacationing in Tennessee (or Myrtle Beach, I don’t really remember), my family went to see Mr. Greenwood in concert. My mom, ever the fashionista herself, dressed my sister and me in corresponding red, white, and blue outfits. Abby in a red denim dress with a blue collar and me in white shorts with blue stars and a red shirt with USA across it. Now, the unfortunate part of this outfit was my haircut.

I’m guessing after my tear-filled first experience with braids for a dance recital, my mom decided short haircuts would be best for my sister and I. Less maintenance and no need to worry about how to style it.

So since I didn’t have much hair, I wore the matching scrunchie that came with my outfit around my ankle. Such a trendsetter, let me tell you.

What does this have to do with Lee Greenwood?

After the concert, we stood in line to have our picture taken with him and autographs signed. My dad pushed us towards him when it was our turn for a photo. My sister stood there in her red dress and gold-rimmed glasses, and Lee Greenwood leans over to grab shoulder while saying, “Let’s put the little fella in the middle.”

Needless to say, I didn’t really feel too bad this morning as I walked into the grocery store in my sweatshirt with Canada and maple leaves all over it and my hair up in a ponytail. God Bless the USA. 

 

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