Desecrating Our Anthem

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Shortly before the 2011 Super Bowl was scheduled to begin, I asked my sister if she knew who was singing the national anthem. She replied, “Christina Aguilera.”

My heart sank. I’m not an Aguilera fan. And, having heard the national anthem sung (if you can call it that) by pop stars plenty of times before, I knew what was probably coming. I didn’t expect her to flub the lyrics, but I did anticipate a less-than-satisfactory performance.

Only seconds after she completed the song, I Googled “christina aguilera national anthem.” People were already tweeting and posting on Facebook about the affair. One commenter called Aguilera’s vocal show-offs “pop-yodeling.” I thought that was especially descriptive of her musical antics.

So I have something to request of anyone, anywhere in America, who might ever sing the national anthem.

Sing it with respect.

Know the lyrics -before- you ascend the stage.

And please – please! – don’t sing in fake vibrato, and for heaven’s sake don’t “pop-yodel.”

And, to anyone who might -listen- to the national anthem, particularly when you are there live, please stand up, remove your hats, listen respectfully, and don’t begin clapping until the singer has begun the word “brave,” if then.

America’s national anthem is just that – an anthem. A song about what our country is about. In effect, it’s a theme song. Treat it with the respect it deserves, and don’t desecrate it by mangling its melody and ignoring its importance.

Even if you are not an American or do not profess loyalty to our country, the very least you can do is respect this time-honored tradition.





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SkyDeer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm
I'm going to have to disagree. I am a very patriotic person and I totally agree on your part about respecting the national anthem but really? Everyone messes up. I don't know if you have ever sang in front of any kind of crowd but it's really hard. I have sang in front of my other church members and it's been really hard but imagine what it would be like to sing in front of a football stadium worth of people.  And just because a person is a pop star doesn't mean they can't sing th... (more »)
 
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