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Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

MANGLED ANTHEM

September 7, 1999

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To the editor:

Daniel E. Smith's letter in the J-W on Aug. 1was a wonderful tribute to a young lady who had the courage to agree to sing our national anthem in public and had a bit of trouble with it. This is not an easy song to sing, rehearsed or otherwise, and I admire her willingness to be volunteered to sing it. The audience response when she had problems was wonderful. I am certain that it was a moving movement -- I would like to have been there.

Unfortunately this is not always the case. All too often the anthem is sung poorly and in a very disrespectful manner. It is not shown the honor which it deserves, and it is embarrassing to listen to.

Some friends and I were discussing this situation recently when one of them gave me a short article entitled "The National Anthem." I would like to share it with you.

"Let me introduce myself. I am 'The Star-Spangled Banner' the anthem of our beloved country. I am writing because of what has happened to me through the years.

Years ago, it was decreed that I would be played or sung at the beginning of sporting events. How proud I was when my words and music filled the air. Opera stars sang me, and service bands made my notes soar. It was a stirring beginning to an athletic contest.

However, quite subtly, performers changed my sound. My words at times were garbled and unintelligible. Why, once I was 'sung' with no music -- just screeching, finished off with an obscene gesture!

Please remember, as YOUR national anthem, I am not jazz; I am not rock or country. I am not rap or gospel. I am unique in all the world, and this uniqueness commands respect and reverence. Please render this respect by playing and/or singing me as I was written.

If this cannot be done, I would rather be stilled at all sports events than be publicly mutilated!"

If those chosen to sing the anthem cannot sing it with the respect and reverence it deserves, silence (or an instrumental version) would, indeed, be better.

Kent Atkins,

Lawrence.

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