A Marine reservist saved a flag at Dodger Stadium in 1976 and became a hero


However, when Monday (a Chicago Cub and Marine reservist) took off with the flag, all of the cynicism and defeatism of the past two years melted away. Watching Monday rescue the flag from two lunatics who tried to hijack a baseball game for their protest, which would have provided the perfect nadir of American morale at that time, the crowd did something no one expected. Lasorda recalled in his book that starting softly, the crowd started singing "God Bless America", completely unprompted, until all of the tens of thousands of Dodger fans had joined together to sing it. It was one of the few unscripted and spontaneous patriotic displays in our Bicentennial, and one of the most moving at any time.

Monday became a favorite of Dodger fans from that moment on, and the next year the team traded for Monday. He played on three pennant-winning Dodger teams and played a key role in their World Series win in 1981. Today he still works for the Dodgers as a broadcaster, continuing an almost 30-year association with the team that began with that daring rescue of Old Glory. Monday not only saved the flag from burning that day, but at least for a brief moment in time, united us in genuine love of country and showed us what real patriotism looked like. For that, Monday has always been and always will be one of my favorite Dodgers -- and favorite sports figures -- of all time.

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