Parasiliti - This day is time to color us grateful

July 03, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Bob Parasiliti
Bob Parasiliti

Colors seem more vivid on some days more than others.

It might be because of different lighting and brightness, but this time I think it’s a matter of circumstance.

Perception of color will be on overload today. Everything bathed in Red … White … and Blue will seem sharper today because it’s Independence Day.

This is a holiday that celebrates the birth of this country, but it has gained added meaning over the years. In its way, it rivals fall foliage and Christmas splendor as the most colorful time of the year.

Today, we will pay attention to color, it will range from the tint of the water at the beach and the hue of the bikini that sashays by all the way down to the shade of the burgers cooking on a grill.

Tonight, we’ll be awestruck by the entire spectrum represented in our skies during a countless number of fireworks displays. Their brilliance will be exploding in glory, but each glow will be bit players to the three that got us here in the first place.

They are Red … White … and Blue.

Today is the day when everyone is patriotic … or at least a little more than usual.

I, for one, should be more cognizant of my surroundings when it comes to honoring my country.

I hear our national anthem most every day when I’m attending a sporting event. I painfully admit I take that 90-second song as a formality that comes just before the first pitch, kickoff or jump ball.

I’m not the only one. Some salute or stand with a hand on their heart, but many rise to honor the flag out of habit. That includes the creative bunch that still yells “Oh” during every rendition in honor of the Baltimore Orioles.

There are many of us who don’t really think about what the Red … White … and Blue stand for until this day. The only other times those passions stir  are during even-numbered years because of the Olympics.

Today, we become one unified gang.

Independence Day is when we wear — and defend — our colors.

If you think about it, communities are their own intimate gangs. Each are represented by the colors of their local schools, which they defend to the hilt.

Athletes take the field of competition wearing some variation of those colors to fight for victory, along with prestige and pride for themselves and the communities they represent.

Some of them take the lessons they learn as athletes to higher levels. They continue to use the values of courage, teamwork, sacrifice and discipline — along with prestige and pride — and apply them in the honor of representing their community and their country in our military.

While Red … White … and Blue are the recognized colors of the day, at least one is primary in practically every color we embrace.

Start with orange, the color former Hagerstown Community College coach James Domenico wore during his athletic career at Martinsburg before serving in Oman in the Air Force.

Or purple, worn by Nathan Steelman and Ian Boyer while competing at Smithsburg. Steelman spent multiple tours as an MP while Boyd manned a machine gun for the Marines in Afghanistan.

There is the old standby of red that was part of the schoolboy lives of North Hagerstown athletes Mike Bowers and Jonathan Breehl before they made their military commitments to help in the effort to keep this country safe. Bowers has made a career of his commitment, while Breehl returned after being injured in the line of duty.

And finally green for South Hagerstown. First for former cross country runner Kevin Spradlin, who served two tours in the Army before joining the world of journalism.

And then for Melanie Keller, — a Rebels softball player and the daughter of my editor, Mark Keller, and his wife, Stacy — who was just sworn in to the Navy last week to do her part.

This is just a small list, but they are a group that I have had the honor of working with during their athletic careers. There are many more I’ve never had the honor to meet — many still actively serving — so this is the day to remember them from afar.

Each one of them turned in their colors of comfort for green or brown camouflage, white suits or peanut butter beige uniforms to help in the effort of our ultimate team.

This is the time to pay them back.

While you take this extra day off and enjoy it next to the water, while looking at or wearing a bikini and eating that burger, please take a moment to remember James, Nathan, Ian, Mike, Jonathan, Kevin and Melanie, along with the countless others in reverence for all they have done for us.

Then, take another moment to salute all of them, too, when each of their colors explode in the air tonight.

And really embrace them all the next time you hear the national anthem.

These people have sacrificed in the most serious competition to add depth to the Red … White … and Blue.

Their brilliance of actions allows those three colors to be more vivid than ever.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at

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