Annual desecrations of the Star Spangled Banner take place in arenas and stadiums across America. They are perpetrated by self obsessed “Grammy Award Winning” singers who wail their national anthem in some unrecognizable vocal style while athletes chew gum and fans begin screaming an accompaniment to erupting fireworks.
Finally an American soldier stationed in Afghanistan has reacted to these travesties in the letter below, which, better than most civilians ever could, expresses the disgust and disdain people have for these singers, their agents and the television executives who believe their cultural taste best serves America.
From a Marine Corps Colonel in Afghanistan :
“So with all the kindness I can muster, I give this one piece of advice to the next pop star who is asked to sing the national anthem at a sporting event… Save the vocal gymnastics and the physical gyrations for your concerts.
Just sing this song the way you were taught to sing it in kindergarten – straight up, no styling. Sing it with the constant awareness that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watching you from bases and outposts all over the world. Don’t make them cringe with your self-centered ego gratification.
Sing it as if you are standing before a row of 86-year-old WWII vets wearing their Purple Hearts, Silver Stars and flag pins on their cardigans and you want them to be proud of you for honoring them and the country they love – not because you want them to think you are a superstar musician. They could see that from your costume, makeup and your entourage.
Sing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ with the courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America , not you. And please remember, not everything has to be sung as a spiritual.
We’re getting a little weary of that.
Francis Scott Key does not need any help.”
Note: Pete Seeger died today. 94 years young and the epitome of simplicity. This morning my brother-in-law wrote, “We have lost a true prophet; and we’re still Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”.
For this Sunday’s 2014 Super Bowl, opera diva Renee Fleming will sing the Star Spangled Banner. All we can do is hope.