Sing It With Respect
In the 27 years I’ve been reading The Pilot, I don’t remember anyone expressing dissatisfaction with our national anthem. Now that a singer messed up the words at the Super Bowl, some people want to change the song?
Now I’m not particularly fond of our anthem. If I were writing it, I might create an entirely new one. I don’t know, maybe if I were designing our flag for the first time, it might be different. But here’s the point — some things we do we do out of respect. In these cases we fly our flag properly and sing our national anthem properly.
I am an aficionado of jazz, where the musician is expected to be creative as he or she improvises playing or singing a song. That’s what jazz is about. But some music really is just not supposed to be a vehicle for creative interpretation. For example, our national anthem.
Should we change the pledge of allegiance because some people might not be able to pronounce “indivisible”? Most people who have agreed with Steve Bouser’s notion have rightly criticized some of the horrible renditions we’ve heard. What makes anyone believe music celebrities will sing “America the Beautiful” the way it is supposed to be sung? Or any other song chosen to replace the anthem?
This is one case where “getting rid of the messenger” (figuratively) is better than “getting rid of the message.”
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is not a very good song, written during a not very good war, in a hardly remembered place. But it was and it still is a tribute to our flag and our country and our people. If it is deemed important enough to be sung in public gatherings of Americans along with the flying of our flag, then it is important that it be sung properly or not at all.
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