Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light.
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The first verse of our national anthem. There are three more, but this is the one we’re familiar with. It can be an emotional and proud song. It briefly reminds us of the birth of our nation and the struggle that young nation had to win it’s independence and time and again fight to keep it.
It can also be a distraction to those who don’t have the decency to give it the respect it warrants. This song and our flag go hand in hand. When one disrespects one, he disrespects the other. I’ve noticed people walking around, talking, and generally paying no attention.
I’ve attended numerous functions where the national anthem is played. Many, mostly young people, apparently have not been shown to stop what they are doing, remove your hat if you’re male, which in these times, it’s hard to tell, and put your hand over your heart while the song is played.
It makes me cringe when I’m attending a function or watching something on television and the singer is introduced. More often than not the singer puts their personal touch to it. This song is not for gyrating, crotch grabbing, warbling singers who think they’ve done a good job. When it’s over everyone sings praises for the awful performance. Folks, I’ve heard some bad performances. To make matters worse a lot of these performers(?) forget the words or never knew them.
Also to blame is the organization or persons hiring said awful singer. Where do they find these people? What fool hired Roseanne Barr? When I was growing up, the song was always played by a band and they could play it. If the song does not stir some kind of emotion in you, then the singer hasn’t done his job. There’s a difference between singing and just spouting words ala Roseanne.
The best rendition I’ve heard and, to me, the way it should be sung is by the United States Naval Academy Choir. Anyone who would attempt to sing our national anthem should watch and hear how it is done.
If Francis Scott Key heard what they’ve done to his song, he’d spin in his grave.
Copyright © September 22, 2011 by Lowell Bergeron