Sports and American pride are a classic combination, and sometimes the sports world helps unite the country during difficult times. Heck, we even have professional sports teams named the Nationals and the Patriots.
In celebration of Independence Day, here are some of the most patriotic moments in sports history.
Rick Monday saves the flag
Early in the 1976 season, as the country was preparing to celebrate its Bicentennial, the Los Angeles Dodgers were playing host to the Chicago Cubs.
In the fourth inning, two men jumped over the outfield fence and knelt down in the outfield. Draping an American flag on the ground, they prepared to set it on fire.
That's when Cubs center fielder Rick Monday came running over and became an American icon.
"They were going to put the match to the flag, and it was soaked in lighter fluid," Monday told MLB.com in 2016. "My attitude was if they don't have it, they can't light it, so I scooped the flag up and kept running."
Whitney Houston sings the Star Spangled Banner
In January 1991, the United States had just entered the Gulf War, and international tensions were high. The possibility of a high-profile terrorist attack had to be considered at any public event, especially the biggest spectacle of them all: The Super Bowl.
Ten days after the war began, the New York GIants and Buffalo Bills were scheduled to meet in Super Bowl XXV in Tampa. Looking for someone to unify the nation, the NFL turned to the biggest star in music at the time — Whitney Houston — to sing the national anthem.
As fans waved miniature flags, Houston, wearing a red, white and blue track suit, stepped to the microphone and delivered a career-defining performance.
"It blew me away," Giants defensive back Everson Walls told USA TODAY in 2013. "It was something that as soon as you heard it, you knew it was something you were going to brag about for the rest of your life."
President George W. Bush's first pitch
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001 created a virtual standstill throughout the country and shut down professional sports for almost a week.
With the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks facing off in the World Series that year, Game 3 was set for Yankee Stadium. And who better to deliver the first pitch in New York than President George W. Bush.
Wearing a bulletproof vest underneath his FDNY jacket, Bush walked to the top of the pitcher's mound in Yankee Stadium, waved to the crowd and fired a perfect strike.
Phillies fans chant 'U-S-A! U-S-A!'
In May 2011, word spread rapidly throughout Citizens Bank Park that the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden, had been killed by U.S. special forces.
The sellout crowd spontaneously erupted with a "U-S-A! U-S-A!" chant that had Phillies and Mets players — as well as ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcasters — totally confused for a moment.
"I don't like to give Philadelphia fans too much credit, but they got this one right," Mets third baseman David Wright said.
The Miracle on Ice
What list of patriotic sports moments would be complete without the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team?
During the height of the Cold War, a ragtag bunch of college hockey players took on the best players from the former Soviet Union — the four-time defending Olympic champions — and somehow emerged victorious in Lake Placid.
Their story was so amazing it spawned a hit movie and is often mentioned as one of the greatest upsets in sports history.
USA 4, USSR 3.
Al Michaels' call of the game's final seconds became an all-time classic: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"
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