The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Opinion

July 14, 2012

There was a miracle and there are uniforms

A couple of weeks ago we were standing in awe at a place where a miracle occurred.

We were at the Olympic hockey rink at Lake Placid, N.Y. Lake Placid was one of a number of stops we made in a nearly week-long motorcycle trip through the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes Region of New York.

 The Finger Lakes and Adirondacks are not that far a journey from Ashtabula County. Some of the most beautiful sites in all of the United Sates are in these areas. If you have never been to the Adirondacks, go.

 The Adirondacks are a series of mountains that are low in comparison to the Rockies and other ranges of the West, but no less beautiful. They are massed with heavy forested areas, rapid running streams, water falls, mountain lakes  and plenty of serpentine roads. For motorcyclists those roads are heaven’s highways on earth.

 Our trip not only included stops at Lake Placid, but also to Geneva on the Finger Lakes, Saratoga Springs, Seneca Falls, and of course Cooperstown. Cooperstown was named after American author, James Fenimore Cooper. Its greater venue though is the shrine to America’s favorite pastime, the Baseball Hall of Fame. It is one of America’s great and beautiful small towns.

 So here we were (four of us) standing above the rink in silent devotion for a long period of time.  It was here where many people believe the single greatest sporting event in American history took place. I saw it on TV.

It was 1980. It would be one of the last American Olympic teams that would consist of non-professional athletes.

The Cold War was still going on between the United States and the Soviet Union, and other Communist countries, such as China. The Olympics  seemed to be a part of the Cold War struggles. We looked at the individual contests and the metal tallies as symbolic indications of battles won and lost in the Cold War.

A group of American amateur hockey players (no dream team), mostly from college teams, assembled to take on the mighty Soviet Union team, which had won four consecutive gold medals in hockey. The Americans were not expected to beat the Soviets, but they did, by a score of 4-3. They continued on to win the gold medal against Finland.

 It turned out to be one of the great boosts of pride in America. It became known as the “Miracle on Ice.” This team was never expected to advance far in competition, let alone win a gold medal.

 Also at that Olympics, American Eric Heiden won five gold medals in speed skating.

The hockey team’s medal and Heiden’s medals were the only gold medals the U.S. team won in that Olympics. All total we won 12 medals. The Soviets won 22 and the East German team won 23.

The U.S. hockey team’s performance was by far the greatest single achievement at these Olympics.

For me, this motorcycle trip highlighted the greatness of this nation, from the beauty of the land to the strength and spirit of its people.

It was all America.

Boy have we come a long way since 1980, or should I say retreated.

By now most of you have heard the uniforms Team USA will wear at the opening ceremonies in the Summer Olympic Games in London on July 27 were made in China. Designer Ralph Lauren got the contract for the uniforms. He had them made in China, even though they could have been made in the United States.

Some U.S. senators, including Senate Majority Leader

Democrat Harry Reid, want to burn the uniforms. Not a bad idea.

Here’s a question: Should we burn U.S. flags made in

China?

 Did you know a lot of the flags flown in the United States today are made in China.  In 2010, we imported $2.8 million worth  of American-labeled flags made in China.

 Some of those Chinese-made flags are flown on federal buildings and they are paid for by our tax dollars. Why not just fly the Chinese flag over Congress or the White House?

 Don’t forget, China is still a Communist country. Remember Communist countries have a a history of wanting  to bury us.

Many of us believe our economic woes of today can be laid at the doorstep of China, which uses cheap labor, has no industrial environmental regulations, and employs unfair trade practices.

And, there are those among us who have outsourced jobs that were once held by Americans to China because it is cheaper. They then import those products back into the United States.

Truthfully, most of us are no less guilty than Team USA, our industries that out-source jobs to China and tax-paid government workers who purchase those so-called American flags made in China. We as consumers have been buying Chinese made products without thinking about it for a very long time.

We buy food grown in China, we buy clothes made in China, we buy equipment and tools made in China, we buy dinner plates made in China, we buy toys made in China, we buy... .

As it has been said, we have met the opposing team and it is us.

Frieder is editor of the Star Beacon and can be reached at nfeditor@suite224.net.

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