Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apparently I struck a nerve with a few people in my last post, the one in which I complained about the botching of the national anthem before the Super Bowl. I don't enjoy offending people, so please accept my apology if you were one of them. And let me try to more gently explain my feelings about it.

My husband, and therefore my five children and I, spent more than twenty years defending our country in active duty Naval service. There were separations, some lengthy. There were threats (like on 9/11 when Ben was on NAS Norfolk on lockdown and we feared it would be next on the hit list). Ben missed events. The children missed their daddy. Often I had to be both mom and dad, and believe me, that doesn't work out well. There were many, many, MANY sacrifices, way too numerous to mention here. No military member can do what he does and do it well without the wholehearted support of his spouse and children. And my oldest son is now in the Air Force.

We love our country.

My gripe this week is not just with Christina Aguilera, but with anyone who has ever sung The Star Spangled Banner publicly and made it a venue for self-promotion.

Have you ever been in a church service when someone sings a solo, and it's obvious that in the singer's mind, it is a "performance" and not an act of worship? It makes my skin crawl, no matter how beautiful the singer's voice.

That's how I feel about the national anthem. It is NOT about the singer. It's about the sacrifices that have been made, the price that has been paid, the incredible struggles we have gone through as a nation and come out on the other side all the better for it. When popular musicians stand before the whole world and muddy that message by "making the song their own," it detracts substantially from the meaning of the song. I've wondered if we wouldn't be better off just reading the words:

Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and home the of the brave?

Do you know the story of Francis Scott Key writing The Star Spangled Banner? You can read it here. Read it to your children so they understand why we stand up, remove our hats, and place our hand over our heart when it is sung and when the Colors are presented. Teach them flag etiquette. Explain why we raise the flag quickly and lower it slowly, and why we never let it touch the ground.

Teach them to sing the national anthem in the spirit in which it was written.

Thank you to those who commented and sent private messages disagreeing with me. I appreciate your honesty.

Be thankful ~



Catherine said...

Exactly! It isn't about the singer, it's about the song and all it means to us.

See my own hastily-written-in- indignation post from yesterday: http://thegiesbrechts.blogspot.com/2011/02/could-someone-sing-please.html

Anonymous said...

You can't see me through your computer (thank God!) but I'm standing up and clapping for you right now! Well said!
Lisa, The Karate Mom

NaomiG said...

Amen! But you already know how I feel. :-)

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Karen, I read your original post, and then this one. I agree with you wholeheartedly on both counts. The girl is a professional; she should be able to sing the words and know them well before doing a performance like that. That's why they get paid "the big bucks."

Secondly, and most importantly, your reasoning for being offended by her blunder is spot on. The sacrifices families like yours have made for our security and freedom should never be a platform for self promotion. I was irritated with her "performance" before the blunder. Her focus was in the wrong place, and it manifested itself in her mistake.

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

And by the way, thank you.