Today In Pop Culture: Please Stand For The National Anthem

Published on March 3rd, 2016 in: Americana, Today In Pop Culture, True Patriot Love |

By Jeffery X Martin


If you’ve ever been to public school or a sporting event, you know that at some point, you’re going to be expected to sing the national anthem. Some of you may fake your way through part of it, just moving your mouths while everyone else carries the weight. That’s fine. Anthems are generally long, slow, and hard to sing, like anything by Adele.

On this date in 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a Congressional resolution making “The Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem of the United States of America. Sure, there were other choices. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” was on the table, but it sounds just like “God Save the Queen,” and we didn’t fight the Revolutionary War for nothing. Leave the Brits out of it. We could have also chosen “America the Beautiful,” which a lot of people think should be the national anthem.

There was some heavy history behind “The Star-Spangled Banner,” though, which probably pushed it over the top. It was, after all, written during a wartime battle. A lawyer named Francis Scott Key witnessed the attack on Fort McHenry by the Royal Navy during the War of 1812. It began as a poem, but it was set to the tune of a song called, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” This was a favorite song in pubs and bars; think of it as the “We Are the Champions” of the 1800s.

Even though Americans usually sing only the first verse, there are four verses to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” If you know all of those stanzas, more power to you.

Every nation has an anthem, though. Canada didn’t adopt their national anthem until 1980. As far as national anthems go, ““O, Canada!” kicks all kinds of ass. It’s actually about the country, not just the flag. It’s emotionally stirring, the perfect song to open a hockey game with.

The best national anthem, however, may belong to Australia. “Advance Australia Fair” sounds like a Eurovision song contest winner. You can imagine Men at Work singing it, because they would have. That’s better than imagining Midnight Oil singing it, because they wouldn’t.

It’s fine to have a song to celebrate the country you live in, to inspire patriotism and love for your fellow human. But if there’s ever a movement to change America’s national anthem, I have an idea. I believe you’ll agree that this song is the right choice for America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.


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