Sunday, March 16, 2014

"O Say Can You See...", Or Not

    A recent Facebook posting, "Should the National Anthem be sung before sporting events?" raises the question, Why? Of National Anthems I've heard, many if not most speak of strength and valor in the successful defense of home and country. Is a sporting event the outcome of which will have no significant impact on a country or its people worthy of such commemoration? Consider the anthems of other countries:

France: La Marseillaise [Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin] (War Song for the Army of the Rhine)

    "Arise, children of the Fatherland
     The day of glory has arrived!
     Against us, tyranny
     Raises its bloody banner...

    "To arms, citizens
     Form your battalions
     Let's march, let's march!
     Let an impure blood   
     Water our furrows!"

    In the film, "Casablanca", the singing of this anthem brought some to tears of patriotic fervor.


Italy: Il Canto degli Italiani (Song of the Italians)

    "Fratelli d'Italia,
    l'Italia s'è desta...

    ...siam pronti alla morte.
    Siam pronti alla morte,..."

   (Brothers of Italy,
    Italy has woken...

    ...We are ready to die.
    We are ready to die...")

    In an Andre Rieu concert in Cortona, Italy, his performance of this anthem aroused a fervent patriotic spirit in the audience.


    Now to our National Anthem: I was brought to tears by Roseanne Barr's outrageous rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a baseball game between the Padres and the Reds on July 25, 1990. It was patently offensive.

    (Barr claimed that some baseball officials encouraged her to "bring humor to the song").

    It's not a "song". It's an anthem. Our National Anthem!

    Other famous and not-so-famous celebrities have presented their own disrespectful musical variations on our National Anthem and it besmirches the values for which our Star Spangled Banner stands.

    I was also brought to tears on the parade ground at morning Assembly during the bugle playing To The Colors as the flag was raised smartly to full staff followed by the Navy band's instrumental version of our Anthem.

    The living are giving and the dead have given to protect our flag and what it stands for. If sports officials and fans insist on presenting our National Anthem prior to a usually bloodless competition, then ensure it is done with the dignity and respect it deserves. No less than a military band or orchestra can accomplish that. Let the raucous and profane remain as part of the half time show if you must.
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  1. Bravo, couldn't have said it better!

  2. I also enjoyed Roseanne's rendition of the national anthem.

    1. You're being tongue-in-cheek I suppose?

  3. Nicely written. Never thought National Anthems can provoke such emotions but then again I hate my country (not the US).

    Nice to see some that don't.