Germans are a humorous bunch. Those who experienced the Soccer World Cup in 2006 hosted in Germany saw and felt a very, very different country. Those that watched from afar were shown images of a super friendly, welcoming nation and people. The German flag was attached to radio aerials on cars, hung out of the windows of homes and painted on faces.
Individually more reserved, a society-wide spirit of togetherness in Germany with a mass outburst of emotion seems only to arise by decree at certain events. The Carnival period in the mid-western regions of the country also secures a similar atmosphere amongst revellers.
Following a slow start to the football tournament, the spectacle did wonders for the collective atmosphere in Germany. At last the shift from an unhealthy angst of nationalism to a tentative yet open patriotism was accomplished. Waving the flag became acceptable and widespread. The Germans had arrived home. German pride was released.
Foreigners were not in the least disturbed by this transition, actually welcoming the change. That surprised the populace the most. The flag was just as prominent in 2010, even though the World Cup was held far away in RSA.
For some, an insignificant step, for others and important phase of development that progresses today with many people being proud of Germany if not necessarily proud of being German.