You know my father stands up and sings. And his mother, Melba Shorthill Bradshaw Dawson, she stood and sang. Beautifully. And I bet my newest U.S. passport your grandparents did, too.
men removed their hats (and still should)
Singing our National Anthem is not about sounding good or “talent” or jazzy, pop, operatic vocalizations. This type of singing is to commitment what voting or raising your hand or signing a petition or marching for a cause are: joining something greater than yourself because you believe in it. Because you cherish it. Because it is you, and you are it.
Any soloist can make a statement. But it is the humble choirs of countrymen and women made mighty by the cobbled singing ensembles on village greens and town hall steps, the shy lyric-whispering bowed-head ballpark players and the pained earnest chords of faithful servants in VA hospital common rooms where you will hear yourself and the well-known, loving hymn to our Nation – it’s past, present and future in every offered note.
Watch the children today as they struggle with intent and purpose to get the words right. They want to get it right so they, too, can join in the mighty choir.
Sing loud, and clear, so they learn. Listen to the elders, many wishing the song continued on after one obligatory verse. They would sing that anthem to the end and then begin America the Beautiful a cappella to further lift their voices in praise to our country, their service and devotions the lifeblood of today’s holiday. Sing when spoken word cannot deliver our message in any stronger dosage.
It is a hymn, a prayer, an oath, a comittment. Today, when you hear our National Anthem, in full or in part, I raise my heart with pride and teary and sentimental song, for long lost familiar voices who taught me how to stand up and, fearlessly love my country in reverent hymn and high praise.