When it comes to the subject of patriotism, few have said it better than Abraham Lincoln.

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives,” our sixteenth Commander in Chief once declared. “I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

Team USA epitomized both parts of that description at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden last week. After winning the gold medal in a game whose 6-2 final score belied just how close a contest the game in the tournament really was, the teenage Americans then belted out a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Locked by arms draped over each other’s shoulders as they stood at mid-ice with gold medals around their necks, the fresh-faced players may have sung (at times) a bit out of tune – but no matter. They were smiling and beaming with nationalistic pride.

They were loud – and proud.

It was a far cry from last summer’s contest between Sweden and the US in the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament.

Not only did the USA team lose to the Swedes back then, but the team was also led by the radical and perennially disgruntled Megan Rapinoe, who regularly stood stone-faced (along with her teammates) whenever the National Anthem of our country was played.

Rapinoe also told Time Magazine, “We as a country are trying to legislate away people’s full humanity,” she said. “It’s particularly frustrating when women’s sports is weaponized. Oh, now we care about fairness? Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total bull#$@%. And show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening.”

It seems Rapinoe isn’t familiar with Lia Thomas, the male swimmer who relaunched and rejuvenated a middling career in men’s swimming by competing against women. Or many other men who have invaded swimming and other women’s sports.

But this past Friday night, this squad of Team USA expressed no guilt for being United States citizens.

It’s refreshing to see young people so proudly wearing our nation’s flag and colors. At one point during the Anthem, the camera cuts away from the young men on the ice and settles on parents in the stands. One of the mothers is wiping away tears.

Tragically, too many parents in America are shedding tears for negative reasons – for kids who have jumped the tracks, walked away from their families or even their faith.

But not this night in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Team USA was expected win, and they did. But the medal ceremony illustrated they not only appreciated the significance of the victory. It also confirmed these young men are well rooted and the right athletes to represent the United States of America.


Image credit: Screenshot of Fox News