In an instant, the character of the hard-scrabble blue-collar towns of Buffalo, New York and Cincinnati, Ohio was revealed. Unity, prayer, and community were paramount. Partisan cynical secular skepticism vanished. Consumer and entertainment values evaporated. Human love and the fragility of human life were bathed in a national display of transcendent longing and desperate dependence. Such is the public legacy of Damar Hamlin's tragic medical crisis during this week's Monday Night Football game.
There was nothing routine about what has transpired. It is a testament to the life Damar has lived and the hidden but real character of rust bowl American cities. Buffalo is a tough town. Their football team reflects the Buffalo's toughness. Racial massacres, crippling snowstorms, and now Damar have tested the community's resolve. What has been revealed has been America's better angels. Even more than the cheap cliches of "hope and prayers" has been real prayers—on the field and in an ESPN broadcast. Today the Buffalo jersey number 3 is a national symbol of who we can be as a nation during the depth of winter when the mortality of life places all in a greater transcendent perspective. God bless Damar Hamlin today. Lead him to a full recovery as we all need him now as we need you.