Regarding the Olympics & the National Anthem

Because I spent about 12 years of my life playing a musical instrument, I thought it was just the band geek in me bitching every night about the particular arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner chosen for the Olympic Games. So, it was a bit of a relief for me to see this morning, that I’m not a lone ear in the universe. Opinion Journal had this to say.

O SAY DID YOU HEAR? Did those tears welling up in Paul Hamm's eyes as the national anthem was being played have to do with the incredible comeback that earned the gymnast a gold medal? Or could they signal embarrassment over the "Star-Spangled Banner Lite" that accompanied his victory? As a musician-friend of ours put it, the version playing at this Olympics has been stripped of any martial overtones, and the bombs bursting in air go "entirely to weepy strings with hints of the Barber Adagio." Is this, our friend wonders, the result of an effort to come up with a Europe-friendly version of the anthem, a version "most likely to play down the notion of the U.S. as a chest-thumping, butt-kicking, jingoistic powerhouse"?

The “chest-thumping: and “butt-kicking” missing in the music are actually the bass and percussion lines. Where are they? There are thousands of Junior High/Middle School bands across the country with more musical emotion than this weak-assed string quartet. I don’t, however, think at this point any butt-kicking is actually missing
at the games.

Nonetheless, whoever chose this particular rendition of our anthem should perhaps, at the very least, be familiar with the actual song--the words to which, for our international visitors, I have reprinted below. Note, there are 4 verses, and almost nobody knows the last 3.

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.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Looking at that now makes me wonder if Michael Newdow
will try and sue to make this unconstitutional?


Post a Comment

<< Home