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Should People Be Allowed to "Interpret" the National Anthem

Updated on February 19, 2015

There Ought to be a Law?

I AM GOING TO RESPECTFULLY, BUT LOUDLY DISAGREE WITH THE WRITER IN THE POST LINKED TO BELOW. Yes, Virginia, I was shouting just then. But it was in a good cause so it's okay. I didn't use any curse words.

There are only a few places where the national anthem is routinely performed - at memorial services, political events and as the opening to some sort of a public gathering or event. Okay, i agree with you that some people go way too far in "interpreting" the anthem, but done respectfully, I see no problem with the Star Spangled Banner being interpreted in a way that reflects one's own culture or musical tastes.

We are a nation of free individuals, and the anthem was never intended to be just about soldiers. It's also the anthem of farmers, factory workers, cubicle rats and teachers; Blacks and Hispanics, Native Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, cowboys, cab drivers, truckers and Asian Americans. I'd get a kick out of hearing a mariachi band do the anthem, or a bluegrass band. There's one rock band that does a thrilling version of the anthem that makes me want to stand up and shout for joy every time I hear it.

Before we turn ourselves into crochety old maiden aunts, lets remember what those soldiers, that the writer insists we "respect", died for. They didn't fight for the right to come home and be saluted and sung to by people standing at rigid attention and singing in the most boring manner possible. They fought so that their families, friends, relations and neighbors could continue to be the same glorious pack of oddballs, misfits and crazy old coots that we were when they signed up to wear the uniform and to protect us from all threats foreign and domestic. Our respect for the individual is what has made us great in the world.

So let the kids sing out loud. Let each of them interpret the anthem the way they wish. If one version seems disrespectful or self-aggrandizing, let them hear about it. But for the sake of our freedom, let's not turn the Star Spangled Banner into some rigid iron-pantsed clone of "Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles" for heaven's sake. I think we're better people than that.

© 2015 by Tom King


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    • twayneking profile image

      twayneking 3 years ago from Puyallup, WA

      If you want to stop the disrespect of the anthem, start with the players. Watch which players don't stand and put their hands over their hearts during the anthem. Then go on radio talk shows, write letters to the editors, to the ball club's management - whatever. Raise hell about the players' disrespect. Pick the most popular, most valuable player on your team who is being disrespectful during the anthem and threaten to boycott games and any merchandise associated with him until he apologizes and straightens up. When he sees that endorsement money drying up, he'll be in front of the microphones with an abject apology and in front of the flag with his hand on his heart, I promise you. If the players are respectful, then start on the anthem singers. Remember what a beating Roseanne took over that awful rendition of the anthem she did at a baseball game. She really got hammered by the fans and apologized. The club was way more choosy after that as to who sang the anthem.

    • pctechgo profile image

      pctechgo 3 years ago from US

      I have heard many renditions of the National Anthem and I believe the singers should regulate themselves. Too often the the Anthem is song in a way which makes it sound distorted. Singers too often try to make their own rendition of the Anthem and in doing so the audience is more enthralled and curious about the rendition rather than the words and meaning under which, and for which, it was created. I enjoy hearing the words and enjoying the meaning and circumstances of the time when it was written. I do respect more a clearly, strongly sung rendition of the Anthem over one that is worked up and over-sung.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Can't we just this once be rude and obnoxiously hardcore in our demand for respect. I even get the argument that burning the flag is free speech. But butchering and flaying alive our anthem is just too much to take -- especially when it is off key and sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.

      I reckon that my real beef is that I pay to hear that at ballgames and the like. I guess I should really take it up with whoever I am paying.

      Very good article with a brilliant handling of the subject.