September 11, 2011

It should have begun very poorly for those of us who were wearing the interlocking ND on the back of our band uniforms, but it didn’t. While we were walking through the Michigan stadium tunnel, I couldn’t help but smile. Of course I was upset the Irish had lost, and especially to Michigan, but in that very instant of defeat, my eyes panned around the stadium and I thought how great it was to have the freedom to even watch a game with 114,000 people. I even had the freedom to leave the stadium in a mostly peaceful manner, when I could easily have been living in a place where people have to worry about roadside bombs and mortar attacks.

Even after a long bus ride to think about it all, I still couldn’t help but to be overcome by patriotism and love for this nation. That sentiment carried on into the visitation for Tina Durski, an administrative officer (and adoptive mother) for the Notre Dame band, who died in service of this university and this nation. Remember, service of country manifests itself not only in the military, but also in people who are good mothers, fathers, fire fighters, professors, and store clerks.

That evening was the best night of my entire career as a student at Notre Dame. Just as the Notre Dame Family had gathered 10 years earlier in prayer, we also gathered in prayer. Ten thousand strong, we thanked God for our lives, the lives of those lost, and for the freedoms we have.

Nothing was more important during that Mass and candlelight procession: there were no phones, no talking — nothing else even existed. The last item must be true because I didn’t even know I was holding a candle or out of wax until my hand became the next available fuel source.

When people have asked in the past whether our generation will have a better or worse life than that of previous generations, I haven’t known exactly what to say. Now, I can definitively respond that it will be better, because in those two hours, I witnessed the unbounded force of human love.

God Bless the USA – Lee Greenwood

I don’t know a single other Lee Greenwood song, but that’s immaterial. This has been my favorite patriotic song since that day in 2001. I remember I learned the words because we used to sing it in summer camp every day during the time my father was in the Navy, and I lived on Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. It truly expresses the fact that no matter where in America (or, in my case, abroad) you live, freedom is not free, and you have an obligation to this nation “to defend her still today.”

Last winter I desperately wanted the football team to be invited to the Gator Bowl, and I was disappointed when they were not. However, when I learned that we in the band would have to shorten our halftime show at the Sun Bowl so that Lee Greenwood could perform “God Bless the USA” in El Paso, I’m pretty sure I immediately started to sing and tear up. Additionally, on September 11, 2011, this song was on loop in my room all day. I’m also happy to announce that we’ll be playing it this weekend during our halftime show at the Michigan State game.


Football game format

In order to increase the average life expectancy of all in the Notre Dame community, I propose a change to the format of football Saturdays. First, the home and visiting bands should alternate first and second quarter shows as determined by a coin flip. These shows will incidentally last about 15 minutes. Then the visiting and home teams should take the field and “perform” for about 8 minutes, the length of a typical halftime show. To close the day the visiting band shall perform their best third quarter show only to be outdone by the home team’s band once again. The university with the better band performances shall be declared the winner and then all shall go home knowing that football won’t kill them at the last second once again.

American stress

Frequently when I call my mom and tell her how busy I am she says, “You don’t always have to be doing something.”  I think growing up, there was nothing I hated more than being bored. I don’t know if it’s genetic, cultural, or just me, but now I’m always running myself up a wall. Actually, I know it’s not just me, because I see it on the faces of everyone around me on campus, and in DC where I interned this summer. The worst thing is that no matter how many times I realize that I just can’t handle all of this, I continue to tack on one more activity. You feel me? Probably not, because if you’re reading this, you have a more stable life than the person who writes it. Dear American stress that makes me and millions of others workaholics and people who eat themselves up inside, I hate you.


Managing Editor Emeritus Matthew Cossack writes, “I just played Irishopoly.  There is a square for the Observer but none for The Rover despite the existence of meaningless hold-over generic squares from the manufacturer like ‘homecoming.’ But when I play, to be more true to reality, every time you pass the Observer square you have to give it $15 and there is no way to opt out.”