Wednesday, January 23, 2013

O say can you see?

Beyond Beyoncé-Gate

Some Americans are unhappy with our national anthem. Those folks suggest we retire The Star-Spangled Banner in favor of a tune that is easier on the vocal cords.

The flag that inspired Francis Scott Key hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.

Anybody with cleaned-out headgear can recognize it takes more than an octave to sing The Star-Spangled Banner. But while performing it may be no easy job, there have always been talents who have nailed the song, notably, the late Whitney Houston, Idol alum Kelly Pickler, and most recently Beyoncé Knowles, whether in studio or on the Capitol steps. And why should the relative difficulty of the song be reason enough to yank it from its honored status anyway, especially when its lyric, based on the poem written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, has proved so transcendent.

Indeed, Scott Key’s lyric continues to deserve the praise and affection of true patriots, in particular, for its final couplet. For two centuries that couplet in fact has promoted the kind of self-reflection necessary to keep the grand experiment on track across the generations.

Regardless of whether a star sings or lip-synchs the song, it is that most poignant of questions at the end of our national anthem that squarely places on all Americans the responsibility for the preservation of this beloved republic and the essential freedoms it represents. It remains up to all of us who have ever sung along or listened to those words with fervor to make sure we can still answer that question with a resounding "Yes."

Yes, that flag still waves.

Now how can you mess with that?

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