Americans can be surprisingly patriotic at occasions. As Discovery blasted on to the space leaving a cloud of smoke behind - the people gathered there, some camping overnight screamed, clapped and waved American flags. It was more than just a space shuttle launch - it was a symbol of American pride.
This is something makes this country unique. Unlike many other countries - they don't wear their patriotism on their sleeves. In fact most of the times they exhibit a strange ignorance about things happening outside their lives. Not many know much about the outside world - as it was so painfully apparent in last Novembers presidential election. But whenever something happens - a crisis the whole nation magically stands informed and united. Last fall when Florida got ravaged by hurricanes - the loss of human lives were minimal. People were asked to evacuate and everyone did. People were asked to move into the shelter and everyone did. And within hours of the storm passing by - Florida was "open for business". Everybody did what they were supposed to. This is something remarkable about American people - whatever way "we" view them - these people have a tremendous sense of duty. And an equal amount of American pride too. Its tough to see in normal circumstances - but it was clearly visible yesterday when discovery was cheered by the crowd.
And yeah - it was an amazing spectacle even from 10 miles away. The sound came minutes later - when the discovery was already a blob in the sky leaving a smoky trail. My camera with only 3x optical zoom did not do any justice to the scene - but being part of the moment was the most important thing.