About Our National Anthem
by SCOTT MCKAY
September 11, 2012
The Star Spangled Banner's been around a long time. Francis Scott Key laid down the verse in 1814 and the music was taken from John Stafford Smith's original music dating back to 1780. Congress declared the song America's National Anthem on March 3, 1931.
Many less qualified singers have trouble singing the anthem. They've made efforts to have the national anthem changed to some more easily sung song. This controversy's continued for years and adaptations and styles, some good, others horrible, came and went over the years. But the music, when played properly, creates an absolute thrill of patriotic emotion to rise. You can argue the need to replace it because your singing skills lack the power and range to express it properly; but, what you find lacking in your ability to interpret the majesty of the piece isn't in any way reflective of the control and dominion the music lays down.
Look to your own inadequacies and stop transferring them to the anthem. It does what it's supposed to do: it challenges.
It tests the spirit and soul of even the most patriotically challenged person when the citizenry is opposed by one threat or another. I've seen the wheelchair assisted stand and salute as a band passes. I've seen the newest citizens eyes fill with tears (as mine do at times) when the song is presented at an event and I've seen the wonder in children's eyes as they stand, hand over heart while watching the flag raised and the anthem surging in the air surrounding the occasion.
The national anthem throws the gauntlet directly into the face of those seeking an America less than what she is; that try to change her into something less than what she can be and to those believing they can weaken the populace by rejecting the rising current of patriotism felt when the tidal surge of orchestral loyalty and nationalism moves the audience.
Yes. The anthem's a challenge to perform. It's a challenge to sing. It has a range covering octaves and changes mid-song from a heartfelt hymn speaking of a nation's resilience to a charging, thundering roar of a populace's devotion to the values and strengths of our homeland. I've seen it used as a pre-emptive battle cry pulling people together when the chips are down and the battle is about to be joined.
This anthem is ours and it's our right and it's our responsibility to pass it on as the American Standard. The American Flag is passed on when a standard bearer falls. One man picks up the standard and advances it. The next does the same, and the next, and the next until the enemies both within and without know the rock we plant that standard in is composed of our resolve as a nation to do good; to do what is right and to fight to the death all that's bad and wrong and seeking to enslave those weaker than we.
The anthem is our call to order. It's our statement of purpose. It's our warning to those who would seek to change, violate and tear down what we've built since the sacrifices of the Revolution in the 18th century.
We're Americans and responsible for what we see, what we say and what we do to protect the American way of life. We rejected the music of "My Country ‘tis of Thee" because it originated in the song: "God Save the Queen". We chose a song less known but soul stirring in its own right. We've always sought been different, original and strong in how we represent ourselves. We must make the anthem and symbols of our country known to our children.
Many public schools reject teaching the history of the flag and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance; the story of the anthem and the need for personal involvement in governance.
Ronald Reagan said:
"Freedom is a fragile thing ... never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation... for it comes only once to a people. " (5 January 1967)
Thanks for listening.