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The Star Spangled Banner


Reverend Jax
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Should the National Anthem be changed?  

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For those of you that are not aware, for soem time there has been a small movement to change the national anthem of the United States from The Star Spangled Banner to America The Beautiful. The reasons are many, and I'll list a few of them here:

 

1. Most importantly, it has some really high notes, especially towords the end, that make it difficult to sing correctly. This is not a crime or fault in and of itself, but shouldn't a national anthem be easy to sing so that the general public can easily sing it? It's doable by professional singers, but this should be a song everyoen can sing.

 

2. The lyrics:

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.

Very pretty, and poetic too, but doesn't exactly roll of the tounge, does it? Even though most Americans have heard it their whoel lives, most of them stumble over it and mumble some words. Again, shouldn't this be a more common man's song?

 

3. Again refering to the lyrics, between rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in mid-air, it's a relatively violent song, and it glorifies war. I'm trying to be anti-war, but shouldn't our national anthem be more idealistic and and celebrate out country's natural beauty and brotherhood, like America The Beautiful does?

 

4. The writer of the lyrics (originally written as a poem, not song lyrics) was Francis Scott Key. Key is British. Shouldn't our national anthem be American written?

 

5. The melody is also derived from an old British pub song from the time. Again, shouldn't this be like an All-American song?

 

6. If you think think The Star Spangled Banner has been out national anthem, you are incorrect. It has only been our since March 3, 1931, only 72 years, 1 month and 15 days (as of the time of this post). Indeed, they are people alive who remember singing America The Beautiful when they rose to sing the national anthem. It's not as old a tradition as you think it is.

 

There have been many suggestions for alternatives to America The Beautiful as the American national anthem, my favorite being Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land. What are other people's thought on this? I know it seems greatly unimportant compare to my "real" issue that face the US, but why not talk about it?

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Hah...always wondered about that one, MLB. When i heard of it in my youth, i thought "does that mean god save the queen but forget everyone else"? And yeah, Hendrix proved our current one can work pretty good on guitar.

Jax, you make some good points, but i kinda forget much of they lyrics to "America the beautfiul", post em when youve a chance. Doesnt sound like a bad idea, especially if you get people to realize it hasnt been our anthem since day one.

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MLB, don't get me wrong, I like the song very much. Musically and lyrically complex is how I like my music. But I don't think that's appropriate for a national anthem. Imagine if Happy Birthday was as complex as, say, Flight of the Bumblebee? Happy Birthday works because it's simple and a bunch of people cna sing it without sounding terrible.

 

And as for you IC.

 

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good

With brotherhood,

From sea to shining sea!

 

O beautiful for pilgrim feet

Whose stern impassioned stress

A thoroughfare for freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America!

God mend thine ev'ry flaw,

Confirm thy soul

In self-control,

Thy liberty in law!

 

O beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life!

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success

In nobleness,

And ev'ry gain divine!

 

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee

And crown thy good

With brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

 

A bit of manifest destiny there, but nonetheless celebratign more the natural beauty of our country and the spirit of libery rather than the terrible legacy of violence and war.

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Yup, that's where Jax's campaign'll die: the majority of people dont think much of things like anthems but the idea of change unnerves them. Youre asking for thought about things that we dont really think about, and change isnt easy.

See, since i think nothing of the star spangled banner anyway, and some of your reasons are solid, id be up for it, m'self. But, while its not a very passionate issue, i think Tussin's answer is what a majority of people'd tell you.

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AS for what you said, ugh, I listed 6 reasons as to WHY it should be changed. Whether or not you think it should be changed, I present the reason why I think it should eb very clearly. And Nick, I'm not asking what you think the public will go with, but what you think should happen. You don't hold the same fear about change as everyone else, do you?

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Jimi didn't play no "America the Beautiful".

You could change it to "Amhran na bhFiann" (The Soldiers song) which goes a little something like this:

 

We'll sing song, a soldier's song,

With cheering rousing chorus,

As round our blazing fires we throng,

The starry heavens o'er us;

Impatient for the coming fight,

And as we wait the morning's light,

Here in the silence of the night,

We'll chant a soldier's song.

 

Soldiers are we

Whose lives are pledged to Ireland;

Some have come

From a land beyond the wave.

Sworn to be free,

No more our ancient sire land

Shall shelter the despot or the slave.

Tonight we man the bearna bhaoil

In Erin's cause, come woe or weal

'Mid cannons' roar and rifles peal,

We'll chant a soldier's song.

 

In valley green, on towering crag,

Our fathers fought before us,

And conquered 'neath the same old flag

That's proudly floating o'er us.

We're children of a fighting race,

That never yet has known disgrace,

And as we march, the foe to face,

We'll chant a soldier's song

 

Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale!

The long watched day is breaking;

The serried ranks of Inisfail

Shall set the Tyrant quaking.

Our camp fires now are burning low;

See in the east a silv'ry glow,

Out yonder waits the Saxon foe,

So chant a soldier's song.

 

I somehow don't think that that's gonna happens though...

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You're right, Jimi didn't play no America The Beautiful. He played The Star Spangled Banner because it sounds awesome. That's not my argument. I've never said it's not a great song. But it's really hard to sing! We shouldn't have a hard to sing song as our national anthem.

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I think it could use a change. It's a decent song, and it does sound great on a guitar. And I don't think it's that big a deal that it wasn't written by an American (shit, if the French built us the Statue of Liberty, an Englishman can write out anthem). But what has always bugged me about it is, it wasn't written as a song. The Star Spangled Banner is just a poem that somebody put to music, and because of that it really doesn't have the rhythms and flows that a song should. That's why we have those phrases that don't really role off the tongue. That's why we have the tone changes and octave raising in sometimes seemingly random places. I think something written specifically for music would work better. America the Beautiful fits that, but...I dunno. Personally I'd like something more triumphant like the French national anthem, or something a bit more beautiful like (and it's probably just me that thinks this) the Canadian anthem. America the Beautiful has always seemed a little too sappy for my tastes. Damned if I can think of a better one to replace it, at the moment, though.

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I think the message in America The Beautiful is better suited for an anthem than the Star Spangled Banner. The SSB for me always seemed more of a war rememberance song in regards to the revolutionary war, which is important, but I don't feel it totally encompases the ideals that America was supposed to represent. Don't get me wrong, I respect the SSB tremendously and I understand the message that it sends - that we stood strong through our toughest perils and all that - but I guess I feel that America the Beautiful is somewhat timeless whereas the SSB kinda meant alot more a few hundred years ago than it means now.

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Well it's nice to get some support. Both or you (SB and Slapaho) make good points. SB, if you think of any triumphant songs, mention them.

 

On a side note, lots of states have gotten strong support of changing the official state song to a popular (relatively) contemporary song. The most likely to get it is West Virginia with John Denver's Country Roads. Sweet Home Alabama has gotten a little support in Alabama too. In the late seventies, there were actually thoasands upon thoasands of signatures on petitions to make Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run the New Jersey state song. What do people think about that?

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Again, i like Jax & Chiefy's reasons for "America the beautfiul".

Junker's obviously not a student of history...any theologian can tell you, jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet. Now if youll excuse me, i must ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long.

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