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I guess most Americans know the story.  How Maryland native, Georgetown DC lawyer Francis Scott Key, approached the British to negotiate the release of his friend, Dr. William Beanes, whom the British had arrested.  The British agreed to release Beanes, but required the two Americans to remain aboard a British warship until after the British had captured Baltimore. From the deck of the warship, Key watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which guarded the entrance to Baltimore harbor.  All through the night he wondered if "our flag was still there", but consoled himself that the continued British bombardment of the fort meant that the fort had not surrendered.  At "dawn's early light" he saw our flag still flying, and was motivated to write the poem, on the back of an envelope, that 117 years later became our national anthem.

That's right.  The Star Spangled Banner did not become our national anthem until 1931, when an Act of Congress, signed into law by President Herbert Hoover, declared it such.  Until 1931, our country somehow survived without a national anthem.

This Act of Congress came just a few years after 1925, when Fort McHenry was declared a national park.  Until then, it had been an active military installation.  The fort served during the Civil War as a military prison for pro-Confederate Marylanders.  During the Civil War and through the remainder of the 19th Century, massive guns were installed that would have destroyed any hostile Navy trying to sail into Baltimore harbor - these giant artillery pieces remain on display today.  During World War I, massive construction transformed the land around the old fort into a major army base, including a large hospital.  Six years after construction, these buildings would be demolished and the area transformed into an urban park - just in time to become the mecca for tourists seeking the birthplace of our brand new national anthem.  Indeed, the legislation making the Star Spangled Banner our national anthem was pushed by Maryland Governor Albert Ritchie, who in 1930-31 was considered a front runner for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1932.  Ritchie's cause was taken up by Maryland's congressional delegation, and their success helped to bring tourist dollars to Baltimore - tourist dollars that would become critical a half century later when Baltimore ceased to be an industrial city.

What follows below the flip is this Baltimorean's Act of Treason against his home city.  Join me below in this act of treachery.

How many of you know that there are four stanzas to the National Anthem?  And if you do, how many of you know the words to stanzas two, three and four?  

Not too many Americans know the full National Anthem.  During the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Germans in the SS who spoke fluent Americanized English dressed in American uniforms with MP armbands, and, acting as traffic police, directed real American soldiers into ambush and capture.  The Nazis would mercilessly slaughter many of the captured Americans in the Malmedy massacre.  The fact that there were Nazis posing as Americans caused terror among the Americans.  But the Nazis had made a mistake.  In their naivety, the Nazis posing as Americans had memorized all four stanzas of the Star Spangled Banner.  American GI's who suspected a soldier in an American uniform of being a Nazi ordered the suspect to sign the full National Anthem, and if he knew stanzas two, three and four, that was proof the guy was a Nazi.  It scares me to think that this Jewish boy from Baltimore would have been shot as a Nazi spy!

So, with that overly long introduction, lets examine our National Anthem, all four stanzas, including the horrible stanza 3 which should have disqualified this poem from such an honor.

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 thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
When you examine these lyrics, you can understand that the entire first stanza is merely a question, summarized in the penultimate line:  "Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?"  We finish singing, some of us shout "Play Ball"!, and resume our seats, with the question unanswered.  What kind of national anthem is this, that asks a question and doesn't answer it? The answer comes in the second stanza.
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, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
So the answer is, with "the gleam of the morning's first beam" - yes, the "the star-spangled banner yet wave[s]."  IMO, if the Star Spangled Banner is going to remain our national anthem (and this diary will do nothing to change that), then we should be singing the second stanza, and not the first.  But then comes that dreadful third stanza:  
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 washed out their foul footsteps' 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!
What the hell is this all about?  Just who was this "band" that Francis Scott Key cursed that their "foul footsteps" should be "pollution?"

From March of 1813 until after the Battle of Baltimore in September of 1814, the British Navy had transformed the Chesapeake Bay into a British lake, with British warships occupying the entire bay from Norfolk at its mouth to Havre de Grace at its northern end, with various islands, including Tangier Island, Poole's Island, Kent Island, and Tilghman Island, serving as land bases and supply depots.  During this period, thousands of Maryland slaves risked capture and brutal punishment to flee to the British vessels and the British troops ashore.  The British protected the slaves and refused to return them to their masters, and promised freedom to every slave reaching their lines or vessels.  On April 2, 1814, British Admiral Alexander Cochrane issued a proclamation offering emancipation to Maryland slaves willing to enlist with British forces. Between April 2, 1814, and the end of the war, more than 700 Maryland slaves enlisted in the British Royal Marines, forming part of the 3rd Battalion of British Royal and Colonial Marines. They trained on Tangier Island, and served with bravery and distinction at the Battles of Bladensburg and North Point.

That night, as Francis Scott Key stood on the deck of the British warship watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry, he heard reports of the Battle of North Point, fought that afternoon on the peninsula forming the north shore of the entrance to Baltimore harbor.  The British officers told him their dead and wounded included black marines, newly freed slaves, from the 3rd Battalion of the British Royal and Colonial Marines.  Key, a slave owner himself, was overjoyed.  Serves those ungrateful slaves right.  Perhaps this slave owner even added the N word.  These 700 British Marines who took advantage of "the havoc of war and the battle's confusion" first to escape to freedom and then to fight for freedom, were the "band" whose "foul footsteps" Key cursed into "pollution."  

So, when we sing that first verse of the Star Spangled Banner, repeating Key's question which he never answers until the unsung second stanza, remember that third unsung stanza, gloating over the death of those slaves who had the temerity to fight for their freedom.  And we should ask ourselves.  Is this the philosophy we should be celebrating in our National Anthem?

I'm tempted to end here, but I think I must actually end with the final stanza:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
During my childhood in the 1950's, I often heard this fourth stanza sung after the first, but I haven't heard it since the 1960's.  It is a source of our national religion, about which I wrote a diary here.  It is a religion to a very generalized God, not invoking the Christian form of the Deity, a compromise the five right wing SCOTUS judges recently ignored in Town of Greece v. Galloway.  The line "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just" makes me uneasy, but then I think back to my childhood.  I probably heard the last stanza sung at memorial services for the World War II dead that my mother, a World War II nurse who served in combat in New Guinea, and who was the commander of her American Legion post, dragged me to.  I would have gladly sung "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just" in World War II, and it is logical that the World War II veterans would have included the stanza at their memorial services.

So, having committed high treason against my home town, I end this by encouraging all of you who have never visited my home town to visit and spend your tourist dollars here.  If you are visiting our suburb 40 miles down I-95, why not pay us a visit as well - MARC train service now connects Baltimore to Washington on weekends, and our city now has free shuttle bus service from downtown to Fort McHenry, which is still a great place to visit.

Originally posted to Maryland Kos on Mon May 26, 2014 at 03:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks, An Ear for Music, White Privilege Working Group, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

There are four stanzas to the Star Spangled Banner

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66%270 votes
28%114 votes

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Comment Preferences

  •  there are certainly other, better candidates for (35+ / 0-)

    the National Anthem although any attempt to put in a new one would stick us with some country/western crap. My favorite de facto anthem for other countries is Sibelius' Finlandia

    perhaps we should perform it with stanza five:

    In indignation over the start of the American Civil War, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. added a fifth stanza to the song in 1861 which appeared in songbooks of the era.

    When our land is illumined with liberty's smile,
    If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
    Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
    The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
    By the millions unchained,
    Who their birthright have gained
    We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
    While the land of the free is the home of the brave.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Mon May 26, 2014 at 04:16:53 PM PDT

    •  My mother wanted "America the Beautiful" (45+ / 0-)

      to be our national anthem. Easier to sing and less warlike. I knew at least three verses to that one too.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:03:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I learned the 4th verse somewhere in my (7+ / 0-)

      childhood. I always like that verse better than the first.

      It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

      by auapplemac on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:52:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So did I (7+ / 0-)

        though I'm no longer word-perfect, I certainly could sing much of it even now. Stanzas two and three, no.

        And the poem is probably worth learning in lit classes, but the tune, besides being unsingable by most of us, was a drinking song. I always think that takes away from the dignity of the thing.

        Most anthems have something to do with victory in war, so the idea of fighting for the right doesn't bother me so much; the problem is knowing when it is not right. Interestingly, one country lauds poets in its anthem - Wales.

        We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less. (From a comment by Kossack nerafinator)

        by ramara on Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:11:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rec'd (4+ / 0-)

      for the Finlandia reference - as an American of Finnish descent -  Sibelius was my first classical music love - thanks to my Mother.

      Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

      by Caniac41 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:26:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Navy Vet Terp

      This explicit reference to the freeing of the slaves should certainly be made a part of our national anthem.  If not let's substitute "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," which will make Christians happy.

      The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

      by amyzex on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:07:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about we go back to the original lyrics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amyzex

        of the tune of the Star Spangled Banner?

        Lyrics

        1
            To Anacreon in Heav'n, where he sat in full glee,
            A few Sons of Harmony sent a petition
            That he their Inspirer and Patron would be;
            When this answer arrived from the Jolly Old Grecian:
            "Voice, Fiddle, and Flute, no longer be mute,
            I'll lend you my name and inspire you to boot,
        Refrain
            And besides I'll instruct you, like me, to intwine
            The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
        2
            The news through Olympus immediately flew;
            When Old Thunder pretended to give himself airs.
            "If these Mortals are suffered their scheme to pursue,
            The devil a Goddess will stay above stairs.
            Hark, already they cry, in transports of joy,
            Away to the Sons of Anacreon we'll fly,
        Refrain
            And there with good fellows, we'll learn to intwine
            The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus' Vine."
        3
            "The Yellow-Haired God and his nine fusty Maids
            From Helicon's banks will incontinent flee,
            Idalia will boast but of tenantless shades,
            And the bi-forked hill a mere desert will be.
            My Thunder no fear on't, shall soon do its errand,
            And dam'me I'll swing the Ringleaders I warrant.
        Refrain
            I'll trim the young dogs, for thus daring to twine
            The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
        4
            Apollo rose up, and said, "Pry'thee ne'er quarrel,
            Good King of the Gods, with My Vot'ries below:
            Your Thunder is useless" — then showing his laurel,
            Cry'd "Sic evitabile fulmen,[7] you know!
            Then over each head, my laurels I'll spread,
            So my sons from your Crackers no mischief shall dread,
        Refrain
            Whilst, snug in their clubroom, they jovially twine
            The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
        5
            Next Momus got up with his risible Phiz
            And swore with Apollo he'd cheerfully join —
            "The full tide of Harmony still shall be his,
            But the Song, and the Catch, and the Laugh shall be mine.
            Then, Jove, be not jealous of these honest fellows."
            Cry'd Jove, "We relent, since the truth you now tell us;
        Refrain
            And swear by Old Styx, that they long shall intwine
            The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
        6
            Ye Sons of Anacreon, then join hand in hand;
            Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!
            'Tis yours to support what's so happily plann'd;
            You've the sanction of Gods, and the Fiat of Jove.
            While thus we agree, our toast let it be:
            "May our Club flourish happy, united, and free!
        Refrain
            And long may the Sons of Anacreon intwine
            The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

        Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

        by moonbatlulu on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:07:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  OMG annieli, I just said change the lyrics.... (0+ / 0-)

      in a prev post.

      I. did. not. know. (Johnny Carson voice) that there was this stanza. Good for you!

      Good for us!

      Ugh. --UB.

      The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

      by unclebucky on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:02:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A better anthem (8+ / 0-)

    would be the surrealist masterpiece (according to Laurie Anderson) "Yankee Doodle".

    •  I learned "Yankee Doodle" as a child & only years (15+ / 0-)

      later learned what "He put a feather in his hat, and called it macaroni" meant.

      As I understand it, "Macaroni,"  i,e, pasta, had recently been introduced to British menus and had become an item at swanky dinner parties.  'Macaroni" was slang for the latest fashion craze.

      So the "Yankee Doodle" who put a feather in his cap, was claiming that he with his feather was the latest style.

      In Georgia, acting the fool with a gun is not only legal, it is encouraged by the governor and the state legislature.

      by Mayfly on Mon May 26, 2014 at 05:48:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is more to that story in fact. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, orlbucfan, nellgwen, Mayfly

        Yankee Doodle was actually a slur used against American's that asserted that they were homosexuals. It is in fact the 1st gay anthem. In London at the time there was a gentleman's club called 'Macaroni' which the insignia or feather in the cap was a marker of sexuality much like wearing an earring in your right ear or a pink tie was in the 1980s.

        http://rictornorton.co.uk/...

        “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” George Orwell

        by Tool on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:18:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pretty much what I have read (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool, nellgwen, prfb, Mayfly

        except for the etymology of the word.  The pasta has roots in the Italian word maccheroni which is a generic term for hollow pasta.  Someone can correct me if I am wrong but I think the reference to Macaroni in fashion predates the name of the pasta, at least in English.

        The lyric that we know today was written by British surgeon Richard Shuckburgh and was meant as an insult.  It is the equivalent of someone today saying "he put on a dollar store tie and called himself a metrosexual" or "he put on some plastic sunglasses and called himself a hipster."

  •  Great diary... Very Well Done. (14+ / 0-)

    This is the 1st time I've ever seen the last 3 stanzas.  It was fascinating to read them while following the tune in my head.  

    While I agree with your take upon the entirety of the song, I respectfully do not agree with the sentiment that the anthem should be changed.  

    I think the way the first stanza ends serves the purpose of the anthem perfectly.  It is an open question.  Not just if the flag is still flying, with all the symbolism that holds for generations of Americans who have defended it and for whom it is a powerful national symbol,  but whether or not it still stands over the home of the land of the free, and the home of the brave.  

    While Scott may have thought his words rang true at the time, today we recognize that the flag did not stand over the land of free when he wrote the song.  It took generations of bloody struggle and we still must strive to realize the nearly holy goal of truly making this country the land of the free.  

    I know the song is very technical and difficult to sing for most, but to entirely honest I am sincerely moved when I hear it sung well.  I also love hearing large crowds belt it out.  

    I am the neo-con nightmare, I am a liberal with the facts.

    by bhfrik on Mon May 26, 2014 at 04:29:37 PM PDT

  •  Actually Our 1st Verse, Being a Question, Is (15+ / 0-)

    about the least warlike national anthem I could possibly imagine. The oft slurred surrender monkeys sing of killing; even the Canadians are on guard.

    Basically it's a bunch of guys huddling asking "holy crap is it safe yet?" I kinda like that.

    Though it's one I would in ignorance of the fact guess belonged to a different North American nation.

    If we voted today though we'd end up with "God Bless America" and I'd rather we change it to "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" than GBM. "America the Beautiful" would be far preferable for me.

    We could use Woody Guthrie's song "This Land is Your Land" but I'd choke on the lyrics.

    I am also the sole American who loves the melody, mainly because I play Irish trad and wherever this melody comes from it fits hand in glove with some of the finest I know. I do recognize that people have trouble singing an octave and a half.

    Not a singer, I wonder if there's a musical key it would work better in for ordinary folks. Maybe we could hold a contest for a new 2nd verse for good old Anachreon and leave it at 2 from here on?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 26, 2014 at 04:31:23 PM PDT

  •  I knew there were four stanzas (11+ / 0-)

    but I only learned of them a few weeks ago right here on DKos. I don't recall what the diary was about but someone mentioned there are other verses to TSSB.

    I don't think it needs to change. Maybe we can just officially drop the rest of the poem and make the first the one and only verse.

    I love our national anthem and it still moves me deeply to hear it. At least when it's not used as a tool to show off a singer's technical ability through excessive vocal runs that is.

  •  I think it's fine. (6+ / 0-)

    Most Latin American ones are a lot worse, although Colombia's is easy to parody so that's a plus.  "En surco de dolores, el bien germina ya" indeed.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon May 26, 2014 at 04:44:51 PM PDT

  •  If I can't have "This (10+ / 0-)

    Land is Your Land", I would settle for "Wille and the Hand Jive".
    Those are my final choices.

    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Mon May 26, 2014 at 04:49:32 PM PDT

  •  If we are at all willing to be honest with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, Miggles

    ourselves, it should be "Bomb, Bomb Iran", or else "The Marines Have Landed on the Shores of Santo Domingo."

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon May 26, 2014 at 04:52:29 PM PDT

  •  Ditch the slavery song (10+ / 0-)

    if we can't have "This Land is your Land", then "America the Beautiful" would be OK.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Mon May 26, 2014 at 04:58:43 PM PDT

  •  America the Beautiful (25+ / 0-)

    Also with four verses. Like many here I personally could go for This Land is Your Land, but pragmatically speaking you'd actually stand a chance of getting acceptance for a change to America.....  Some people already think that IS the anthem, and many others have suggested such a change.

    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 impassion'd 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 be 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!

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Mon May 26, 2014 at 05:02:45 PM PDT

  •  And Kent Island (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp, The Marti

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Mon May 26, 2014 at 05:18:25 PM PDT

  •  Didn't Asimov have a short story with the anthem? (9+ / 0-)

    Isaac Asimov was known for singing all four stanzas to friends at parties. I believe he wrote a short story where a spy was outed because the spy actually knew all four stanzas, which no American would actually know.

  •  THANK YOU, Navy Vet Terp, for this interesting (13+ / 0-)

    bit of American history and for correctly referring to stanzas as "stanzas." Most people call stanzas "verses," which is incorrect.

    People have moaned and cried and thrown hissy fits about how difficult it is to sing our national anthem. Yes, it is. And individual singers can't do it--witness LeAnn Rimes wandering all over the damn scale at the start of the Indy 500.

    However, when I hear it sung properly (by choruses from our armed forces) I'm telling you I get chills down my spine! These old, gooseberry-colored eyes fill with tears when I hear, "Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave? O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

    Say what you will, these words are stirring. And Gawd help us, "O, beautiful for spacious skies," or "My country 'tis of thee" just don't have the same, thrilling effect on the soul. On this soul, anyway.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon May 26, 2014 at 05:43:56 PM PDT

    •  rec X 1000 (6+ / 0-)
      Say what you will, these words are stirring. And Gawd help us, "O, beautiful for spacious skies," or "My country 'tis of thee" just don't have the same, thrilling effect on the soul. On this soul, anyway.
      Love it!! Thanks! it still sometimes brings tears to these cynical old eyes. Can't explain it, just makes you feel like you own a piece of it, especially if you ever gave something up for it

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Mon May 26, 2014 at 05:51:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It couldn't be (6+ / 0-)

        My country 'tis of thee - the tune would be the same as Britain, and how would we differentiate Olympic gold medal winners?

        Navy Vet Terp, wonderful diary. I always learn from your history diaries - and I know very little about military history.

        Thanks.

        We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less. (From a comment by Kossack nerafinator)

        by ramara on Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:19:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  beautiful and sad song (0+ / 0-)
        •  I hadn't even thought of that one. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Diana in NoVa

          As big annie says, a beautiful and sad (or perhaps melancholy) song.  But I don't care for the 4th stanza.

          Our fathers' God to Thee,
          Author of liberty,
          To Thee we sing.
          Long may our land be bright,
          With freedom's holy light,
          Protect us by Thy might,
          Great God our King.
          Especially that "God our King" bit.  Seems like a paean hearkening back to the divine right of kings.

          I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

          by tle on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:55:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  a fight song versus a spiritual (0+ / 0-)
      However, when I hear it sung properly (by choruses from our armed forces) I'm telling you I get chills down my spine!
      I've heard this same argument made: skill aside, there's no comparison in tone - and therefore implied meaning - between a chorus of strong young men belting it out at marching pace and a female soloist singing in a languid and breathy style.

      During the last Super Bowl, I remember they had the national anthem sung in the stereotypical manner, but later on you had a different patriotic song sung in a heartier and more "approachable" manner, and I distinctly remember hearing the second song get enormously more and louder applause.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:54:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Being a Baltimore native, (8+ / 0-)

    I'm kinda partial to the FSK anthem.  I can discount the final 3 stanzas since few people know they exist, much less know the words.

    I would encourage any visitors to B'more to visit Ft. McHenry.  It's a pretty cool place.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Mon May 26, 2014 at 05:50:17 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary! (9+ / 0-)

    I am curious if you have a source for:

    In their naivety, the Nazis posing as Americans had memorized all four stanzas of the Star Spangled Banner.  American GI's who suspected a soldier in an American uniform of being a Nazi ordered the suspect to sign the full National Anthem, and if he knew stanzas two, three and four, that was proof the guy was a Nazi.
    I am kind of a WWII nerd, and I have never heard that before. This is from Fall Greif (and a lesser extent Fall Währung), both operations geared toward sending spies dressed in US Army uniforms. The GI's immediate reaction was to ask unrecognized soldiers trivial Americana to expose the spies. From what I understood they asked questions about baseball, etc. I also read somewhere that one group was nailed because they asked for "petrol" instead of "gas". In addition they also were trained to smoke their cigarettes with scissor fingers rather than palm up, something that caused their spies problems on previous operations. I have never heard the Anthem thing before, or is this family/oral tradition? Just curious.

    Also, the "rocket's red glare" refers to the same rocket technology that they used on us, which was used on them in India in the Battle of Pollilur in 1780.

  •  Britain, Britten and alternatives (10+ / 0-)

    Actually Britain has no national anthem. "God Save the King/Queen" is sung by convention. Different verses have been sung at different times and, like the diary, people have proposed changes so I'll give you a few as examples to stimulate thoughts.

    One verse said to have been around during the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 asks a blessing that General Wade, who was in charge of putting it down, gain victory and:

    May he sedition hush,
    and like a torrent rush,
    Rebellious Scots to crush,
    God save the King
    Might come in handy later this year after the Scottish referendum :-)  

    There is a "standard" version of three verses. The first verse is normally only sung, the second is never as it starts

    O Lord our God arise,
    Scatter thine her enemies,
    And make them fall:
    Confound their politics,
    Frustrate their knavish tricks,
    Which is a bit too militaristic these days. The third verse is sung at some occasions, usually when the monarch is present. The nearest to an official anthem was a "Peace" version approved by the Privy Council after WW1, which shares this verse from the version usually used around the turn of the 19/20th centuries but is earlier and may give a hint where some of the inspirations for Oh Say Can You See were from:
    May just and righteous laws
    Uphold the public cause,
    And bless our isle:
    Home of the brave and free,
    Thou land of liberty
    ,
    We pray that still on thee
    Kind heaven may smile.
    The third verse was sung as the second verse during the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony
    Of many a race and birth
    From utmost ends of earth
    God save us all!
    Bid strife and hatred cease
    Bid hope and joy increase
    Spread universal peace
    God save us all!
    You'll know the music as "My Country Tis of Thee" is sung to it. It has however been re-arranged and the version by Benjamin Britten is particularly magnificent in its setting: (Don't be tempted to turn the volume up at the start!!!!!!) So one option for the American anthem might be a re-arrangement to get rid of that awkward key which makes it almost impossible to sing. (BTW, in the clip there is an amusing cutaway to an American boy standing with his hand over his heart which is never correct in the context. You might remember that the usual civilian salute in the USA up to the 1930s was the "Olympic salute" where the right arm is raised straight with the hand extended flat to just above the head. It was dropped for obvious reasons!)

    The UK has a particular problem in that there are four national teams that compete in different competitions. Scotland always uses "Flower of Scotland" and Wales "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" (Land of My Fathers). The Northern Ireland team uses the Londonderry Air sung as "Oh Danny Boy". England has a particular problem in that there is no agreed English anthem. God Save the Queen is used but in competitions like the Commonwealth Games there becomes a problem. "Jerusalem", the Blake poem set to music by Parry is often used although in Rugby Union internationals the spiritual "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" has been used and is a crowd favorite.

    One question is do you need a national anthem with words? Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina and, for a time Russia all had or have anthems without. The European anthem is the Ode to Joy "in the universal language of music".

    You could go to the other extreme and celebrate the different cultural heritages of your citizens and have more than one language - the South African one uses four.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon May 26, 2014 at 05:55:09 PM PDT

    •  Salute (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Navy Vet Terp, The Marti, WakeUpNeo

      In case you were wondering, the civilian "salute" to God Save the Queens (uniformed persons use their service's salute as in the USA) varies by convention according to the circumstances/

      If only the first verse is used, simple standing with the hand by one's side suffices.

      Where the second verse is sung, it is permissible to quickly adjust your program to be able to read it, either one hand or two may be used to hold it.

      It used to be played at the end of a movie or play performance. In those circumstances, the convention was to have moved to the theater aisles before the music starts and be making for the exits. One could stand as appropriate although there were safety implications if the rest chose not to. Scrambling over the seats to get to the exit first was considered bad form.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:11:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Jerusalem" is a wonderful tune though (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti, WakeUpNeo, Loge

      I have serious doubts about the text! (No, Jesus did NOT set foot on British soil!)

      Fortunately, with a different text, the tune appears in the Episcopal The Hymnal 1982.

      SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

      by commonmass on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:35:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ancient legend (8+ / 0-)

        There is an old legend that Jesus visited England with Joseph of Arimathea on a trading visit (such contacts are not unlikely given Cornish tin was exported all over the Mediterranean at the time). Joseph is said to have thrust his staff into the ground at Glastonbury and from it sprang a thorn tree.

        The story was probably devised by the local monks at the Tor to get pilgrims in but it inspired the first verse of Blake's poem which is a protest against the Industrial Revolution. The second verse which virtually nobody remembers is actually more descriptive of the iconography associated with Mithras which became merged with Christianity. I'll have a go at remembering it so you can check it later.

        Bring me my bow of burning gold
        Bring me my arrows of desire
        Bring me my shield, oh clouds unfold
        Bring me my Chariot of Fire
        I will not cease from mental strife
        Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
        Until we have built Jerusalem
        In England's green and pleasant land.

        "Jerusalem" of course is the idealized society in the "city on the hill".

        "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:05:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I saw some critique of Michelle Obama because she (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nespolo

      didn't have her hand over her heart during the anthem.

      That's a new one for me. We only put our hand over our heart when we gave the Pledge of Allegiance.

      Never did we have to put our hands on our hearts during the anthem.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:39:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That poor woman can't do anything right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nespolo

        If she didn't put her hand over her heart, they'll attack her.
        If she put her hand over her heart, they'll attack her.
        No matter what she does or doesn't do, they'll attack her.
        Of course, we can't even hint that has something to do with her skin pigmentation and ancestry, or we'll be playing the race card.

        "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

        by Navy Vet Terp on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:31:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What do the British use Rule Britannia for? (0+ / 0-)

       I thought that was their national anthem.

      No, it's the coconut oil, got to go, got to go. In today's news, the African country of Somalia has traded places with the U.S. state of Georgia. Said one Georgian resident, "Here we go again. Last time we got free vodka."

      by nellgwen on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:28:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Last time I was in Bawmer, Merlin, I visited the (8+ / 0-)

    B&O museum and took a brief train ride. Then I headed over to see the Public Works museum, even though I'd seen from its website that it had closed. Yep. As had another one of the little museums in that part of town--the one where I'd learned a Bawlamoron pharmacist had invented Noxzema. As I said to the friend with me, "Budget cuts, dontcha know. Heck with preserving our history and heritage--we only have money for war."

  •  I vote America the Beautiful (4+ / 0-)

    No one dies or gets bombed in that.

    And you can sing it.

    We will never be free from fear as long as we fear the NRA.

    by captainlaser on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:06:06 PM PDT

  •  For real? (10+ / 0-)

    Best National Anthem for the US now would be:

    Just kidding.  My real vote would be for "This Land is Your Land".  Another good one would be "American Tune" by Paul Simon.

  •  My nomination to replace the S-S-Banner: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, Yasuragi, milkbone

    "Land of 1000 Dances." (Even better, make it our planetary anthem.)

    Why are the Republicans so obsessed with Ben Gazzara? Let the man rest in peace!

    by Miscweant on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:16:00 PM PDT

  •  I love the Anthem and the story behind it. (13+ / 0-)

    As a native Marylander, I consider it to be part of my heritage.  As an elementary school music teacher, I've known about the other stanzas and memorized stanzas 2 and 4 years and years ago.  They were always included in our 4th grade music text.  For some reason, stanza 3 was always omitted--perhaps because it speaks of the spoils of war and the text editors thought it too much for kids.  I always read it to them.  When I teach the Anthem to our 4th graders, I always tell the story of the battle at Ft. McHenry and about the huge flag that still hangs in the Smithsonian.  Honestly--you can hear a pin drop during that story.  My students love learning the history and they love singing our National Anthem.  I'm still moved to tears by a proper performance of it.

    “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

    by musiclady on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:17:16 PM PDT

    •  As I said in my post above, I find the poem (5+ / 0-)

      mediocre at best and the tune unsingable by most. I, too, have had to teach it to children and while some people consider me to be an outstanding choirmaster, the results were always mixed at best.

      I did recently hear it sung beautifully by a High School choir at a Boston Celtics game, and it was successful because it was sung in a four-part arrangement thus avoiding the issues with its tessitura that stifles most mass-sung performances in unison/at octaves.

      SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

      by commonmass on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:31:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The best version I've ever heard sung (0+ / 0-)

        was after 9/11. It was sung by the Canadians. It used to be on YouTube but it's not there anymore.

        No, it's the coconut oil, got to go, got to go. In today's news, the African country of Somalia has traded places with the U.S. state of Georgia. Said one Georgian resident, "Here we go again. Last time we got free vodka."

        by nellgwen on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:44:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you can find a great clip (0+ / 0-)

        on youtube of the Grateful Dead doing a three part harmony at a San Francisco Giants game.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:03:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That the tune used is a British drinking song is (13+ / 0-)

    a rather delicious irony, given the subject of the poem. And it's that British drinking song that should really disqualify it, in my professional opinion as a professional musician and composer.

    The enormous Tessitura required to sing the anthem is one of the reasons it is almost always performed by a soloist. It's almost impossible to find a key where all male and female voices would be comfortable singing it without having to "cheat" by changing octaves. That our national anthem is difficult to sing by mixed, amateur voices is a terrible shame. That it is mangled by being "popped up" by pop singers on a regular basis is even more revolting.

    I was recently a representative from my Lodge to the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Maine, where I had occasion to sing the first stanza of our National Anthem with about 500 other men. The result was hideous. Well, it was followed by the assembly singing "O, Canada" out of respect for Canadian dignitaries who were present. The result was quite lovely (so is "O, Canada", as a national anthem). While both anthems get a little high in the voice, "O, Canada" has a much more singable melody.

    Why we couldn't have had "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean" or something else as an anthem I will never know. As it stands, we are stuck with an unsingable melody and a deeply mediocre text.

    SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

    by commonmass on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:25:27 PM PDT

    •  Agreed Commonmass! We used to fife out... (4+ / 0-)

      Anacreon in Heaven during performances a long time ago. It was always fun to have people strike up conversations after our performances. "Hey, wasn't that the SSB?" Why no, not at all. We were playing a London drinking tune that was popular in the pubs. The looks that we received were priceless!

      I have yet to meet a republican who can tell the truth.

      by Maximilien Robespierre on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:26:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i was at a trade event one time (13+ / 0-)

      where US and Canadian companies were both present, and the band I sang with was supposed to play for the evening's entertainment.

      right before we went on, some teenage Whitney Houston wannabe (not part of our group) sang one of those horrendous versions of TSSB with all kinds of extra trills and runs and embellishments.

      I overheard some of the Canadian guys mumbling "they never sing our anthem" and "once again our anthem gets left out"

      so I went to the organizer of the event and said what I had overheard.  He said they didn't have anyone who could sing the Canadian anthem.  I said I knew the first verse to O Canada from singing it at baseball games and I would be happy to sing it.

      I was introduced and went to the microphone.  I did it straight up without any folderol, with my eyes closed so I could see the lyrics in front of me the way they always showed them on the screen at Fenway.

      as I got to the final line the Canadians were on their feet cheering and applauding and some of them were deeply moved.

      it is one of my very very dearest memories of my singing/performance days

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:01:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately, I've watched a lot of hockey and (4+ / 0-)

        baseball, and being from New England, as you know, can sing "O, Canada" from memory. However, they did print out the lyrics to both "The Star Spangled Banner" and the Canadian anthem--on the back of our voting slips.

        It would have been a horrible omission had we not sang the Canadian anthem: the Grand Masters of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland-Labrador were present. The Honor Guard of the Consistory were sure to present the Canadian flag.

        We Masons tend towards a great deal of respect for one another.

        I have only one criticism of the meeting of the Grand Lodge. There were representatives of Prince Hall Lodges from around New England (traditionally African-American Masonic Lodges, which are recognized by the Grand Lodge of Maine) and we didn't sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing". Had I been Organist for the event, we would have.

        SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

        by commonmass on Mon May 26, 2014 at 09:25:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've done that also! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, Nespolo

          at the first dedication ceremony for the Prince Hall monument that stands on Cambridge Common, the woman who was supposed to perform Lift Every Voice and Sing was unable to be present at the last minute.

          Denise Simmons, former mayor of Cambridge, asked me if I would sing it.

          My response was "how many verses"?  The "Negro National Anthem" meant a great deal to my mom, who used to sing it every morning at the start of the day in her segregated school days. In her honor I learned all the verses by heart.

          The dedication committee only wanted the first verse, so that was a piece of cake.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:30:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, don't forget, that it has a very New England (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TrueBlueMajority

            connection: to the New England Conservatory in specific.

            Frankly, I get more stirred up by it than I do by the
            "National Anthem".

            It's a lot of fun to play at the organ, and I have had numerous opportunities to do so in Episcopal churches over the years.

            SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

            by commonmass on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:25:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  do tell! i don't know the NEC connection...! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              commonmass

              Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
              DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
              Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

              by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:22:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, Horace Boyer did a wonderful workshop (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nespolo, TrueBlueMajority

                at Diocesan Convention when I was working in the Diocese of Massachusetts.

                Here's what the Wiki has to say:

                Johnson was trained at the New England Conservatory and then studied in London. His career began as an interesting public school teacher in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. Travelling to New York, he began his show business career along with his brother and Bob Cole. As a songwriting team, they wrote works such as The Evolution of Ragtime (1903). Among the earliest works by the group, this was a suite of six songs of "Negro" music. They produced two successful Broadway operettas with casts of black actors: Shoo-Fly Regiment of 1906 and The Red Moon of 1908.[4][5][6] They also created and produced several "white" musicals: Sleeping Beauty and the Beast in 1901, In Newport in 1904, and Humpty Dumpty in 1904. Johnson would also collaborate to create Hello Paris with J. Leubrie Hill in 1911.

                SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

                by commonmass on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:38:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I love the Canadian anthem, TBM. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority, big annie

        Good for you!

        An angry white man with a gun is a patriot. An angry Muslim man with a gun is a terrorist. An angry black man with a gun is a corpse. -- raptavio

        by Yasuragi on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:09:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am a hockey fan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yasuragi

          and attend our NHL team's home games.  I am learning how to sing 'O Canada' with the second stanza in French because that is how they do it in most of Canada (Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia sing all of it in English) - of course, at Habs games - they sing most of it in French then switch to English for the end.   I sing 'O Canada' loud but whisper our National Anthem because I can't sing it no matter how hard I try.  Not only am I of Finnish descent but also of Canadian descent, hence the 'hockey problem'.

          Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

          by Caniac41 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:05:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Drinking song? Actually a "challenge song"... (4+ / 0-)

      ...or so I heard at my town historical society, at a presentation on music from colonial times. The speaker said that it was popular at that time to get together (at a tavern of course) and test each others' ability to sing. The tunes and words of the challenge songs were made deliberately complicated, with surprising intervals. If you didn't do it right, you had to take a drink & try again... and the tune for TSSB was one of them.

    •  "That our national anthem is difficult to sing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, mookins

      by mixed, amateur voices is a terrible shame."

      Especially when a bunch of drunks in an English tavern had no trouble at all....

      •  Yes, but no one sings anymore. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen, mookins, RiveroftheWest

        I have been a professional sacred musician for over thirty years. I have seen a lot of hymnals come and go. With every new publication, everything gets lowered by at least a half-step, if not more.

        I suspect that the drunks in the English tavern sang very poorly, and didn't care. Very much like our National Anthem is sung today.

        SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

        by commonmass on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:16:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You certainly might be right. But remember that (0+ / 0-)

          back before TV and all the various options for canned music, singing was entertainment and singers were honored. Perhaps when music was made by almost everyone, they tended to be better at it than today's croakers with their six-note range.

          I think the example of dreadful pop singers who moan, gasp and grunt their way though songs has made people forget what real singing is.

    •  To Anacreon in Heaven (Anacreonic Song) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      K S LaVida

      Quite a story. Much more poetic than "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." Those fellows had plenty of erudition.

      1
      To Anacreon in Heav'n, where he sat in full glee,
      A few Sons of Harmony sent a petition
      That he their Inspirer and Patron would be;
      When this answer arrived from the Jolly Old Grecian:
      "Voice, Fiddle, and Flute, no longer be mute,
      I'll lend you my name and inspire you to boot,

      Refrain
      And besides I'll instruct you, like me, to intwine
      The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

      2
      The news through Olympus immediately flew;
      When Old Thunder pretended to give himself airs.
      "If these Mortals are suffered their scheme to pursue,
      The devil a Goddess will stay above stairs.
      Hark, already they cry, in transports of joy,
      Away to the Sons of Anacreon we'll fly,

      Refrain
      And there with good fellows, we'll learn to intwine
      The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus' Vine."

      3
      "The Yellow-Haired God and his nine fusty Maids
      From Helicon's banks will incontinent flee,
      Idalia will boast but of tenantless shades,
      And the bi-forked hill a mere desert will be.
      My Thunder no fear on't, shall soon do its errand,
      And dam'me I'll swing the Ringleaders I warrant.

      Refrain
      I'll trim the young dogs, for thus daring to twine
      The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

      4
      Apollo rose up, and said, "Pry'thee ne'er quarrel,
      Good King of the Gods, with My Vot'ries below:
      Your Thunder is useless" — then showing his laurel,
      Cry'd "Sic evitabile fulmen, you know!
      Then over each head, my laurels I'll spread,
      So my sons from your Crackers no mischief shall dread,

      Refrain
      Whilst, snug in their clubroom, they jovially twine
      The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

      5
      Next Momus got up with his risible Phiz
      And swore with Apollo he'd cheerfully join —
      "The full tide of Harmony still shall be his,
      But the Song, and the Catch, and the Laugh shall be mine.
      Then, Jove, be not jealous of these honest fellows.
      "Cry'd Jove, "We relent, since the truth you now tell us;

      Refrain
      And swear by Old Styx, that they long shall intwine
      The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

      6
      Ye Sons of Anacreon, then join hand in hand;
      Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!'
      Tis yours to support what's so happily plann'd;
      You've the sanction of Gods, and the Fiat of Jove.
      While thus we agree, our toast let it be:
      "May our Club flourish happy, united, and free!

      Refrain
      And long may the Sons of Anacreon intwine
      The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine.'

      --Wikipedia

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:10:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does this mean only the drunken can properly (0+ / 0-)

      sing this song?  Or that if you listen drunk, everyone can sing this song?

      I am not much of singer and though I rarely drink, when I have a whole beer, I am known to break out in song, but can't say that I have ever broken out into the SSB.  

      I find the sentiment of the lyrics (excepting the one celebrating the death of slaves seeking freedom) not disagreeable, but any actual poetry in the words I find is non-existent.  

      I wish our national anthem would use other lyrics, like Emma Lazarus's sonnet "The New Colossus" .

      The New Colossus

      Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
      With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
      Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
      A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
      Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
      Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
      Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
      The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
      "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
      With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

      "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

      by Uncle Moji on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:29:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Things change (10+ / 0-)

    a song that has that reference was turned into the greatest guitar performance ever put to recording, in the hands of a guitarist descended from slaves, and from the natives whose land was taken from them.

    Jimi Hendrix performance at Woodstock renewed the music, in the same way that a chief justice descended from slaves, in the same era, renewed the constitution.

    The things that make a country living and fluid - is a new anthem needed? Probably not - it became a new anthem, all on its own.

    Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:31:54 PM PDT

  •  my humble nomination (5+ / 0-)

    May you always find water and shade.

    by Whimsical Rapscallion on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:34:23 PM PDT

  •  On a lighter note: Albert Brooks...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:41:43 PM PDT

  •  Please remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, nellgwen

    First of all it has to be reasonably memorable - nothing worse than the mumbling starting halfway through. Make sure foreign language speakers can have a reasonable go at miming if they do not know the words. This is what happened to a Welsh Secretary under the last Conservative Government when he visited the Welsh Conservatives conference:

    Allied to that, keep it short or make sure it can be sung as a short version remember that at international events your flag will be raised to it so a short 20-30 second burst from the start should be able to identify it.

    Keep the full version to a reasonable length.

    Don't have a long musical introduction. After about 10 seconds people from other countries start to shuffle about waiting for you to sing.

    Don't have short repeated verses where foreigners think it has finished.

    I offer as evidence for the last four points the Italian anthem:

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:46:27 PM PDT

  •  I've been advocating a change for years (4+ / 0-)

    And this is the only possible choice.

    First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

    by Hannibal on Mon May 26, 2014 at 06:59:51 PM PDT

  •  I second Woody's song, except... (0+ / 0-)

    ...in this version.

  •  Other answer not included in poll (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Navy Vet Terp

    I knew three of the verses, which we sang in grade school, but verse three is completely new to me.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

    by anastasia p on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:02:13 PM PDT

  •  An idea and another anthem (0+ / 0-)

    I was riffing a bit on the idea of a wordless anthem and thought one idea might be to use Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man". It would not be an anthem directed by the gathered towards the country or head of state but a salute by the nation state to those who comprise it. May be a bit esoteric though and breaks my rules by having some "false endings" so the crowd would not know when to chant "USA, USA".

    My favorite anthem which usually raises a tear is actually the International Rugby Union's composed for the Rugby World Cup and often played at rugby union internationals in addition to the national anthems. It uses Holst's "Thaxted" which is also used by the hymn "I vow to thee my country"

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:03:26 PM PDT

  •  have i said lately how much i love Stephen Colbert (3+ / 0-)

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:10:28 PM PDT

  •  Good diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    And while we're at it, can I say how hideous the new license plates are? I like the old ones, the plain ones.

  •  I am sort of indifferent to the national anthem (6+ / 0-)

    But I love the history you brought to it in this diary. I had no idea. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

    For me, the only thing I appreciate about the song is that, over the years, there have been a few truly wonderful versions of it.

    My favorite being this one:

    That performance gives me all the feels.

    Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

    by moviemeister76 on Mon May 26, 2014 at 09:39:31 PM PDT

  •  Didn't Albert Brooks do this diary 40 years ago? (3+ / 0-)

    This was performed in 1972 on the Flip Wilson Show.

    We've regressed since then

    Huey728 "I'm not really big on calling strangers on the phone, but I felt this election was too important to just sit back and watch." Elections are decided exactly this way; every damned election! GOTV counts... the votes!

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:00:03 PM PDT

  •  Pledge of Allegiance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Navy Vet Terp

    The Pledge of Allegiance wasn't written until 1892 and didn't have "under God" in it until 1952.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:44:50 PM PDT

  •  Another place: Denmark (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone, nellgwen, Navy Vet Terp

    Denmark has two National Anthems. One the 'State' anthem used by the military, in the presence of the Monatch and so on. Full of guts and war and blood.

    The second is the 'Civic Anthem' used anywhere else Danes want to say 'we are Danes!' Like at sports occasions.

    A rough translation of the Civic Anthem Der er et yndigt land (There is a lovely land) as normally sung:

    There is a lovely land, where beech trees grow down to the salty Baltic shore.

    It winds through valleys over hills, it is called ancient Denmark. And Freja holds court there.

    Our ancient Denmark shall endure so long as the tips of its beech trees reflect in the blue of the waves.

    Freja was the old Norse goddess of plenty and peace.
    Der er et yndigt land,
    det står med brede bøge
    nær salten østerstrand
    nær salten østerstrand
    Det bugter sig i bakke, dal,
    det hedder gamle Danmark
    og det er Frejas sal
    og det er Frejas sal

    Vort gamle Danmark skal bestå,
    så længe bøgen spejler
    sin top i bølgen blå
    sin top i bølgen blå

    See herefor performances of both anthems

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

    by saugatojas on Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:54:08 PM PDT

  •  None of the choices apply -- (0+ / 0-)

    I could sing the first two stanzas, but remembered only fragments of the third and fourth.

  •  This version would be more accurate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Damnit Janet, socal altvibe

    You rarely find a story that says two stoners beat each other up outside of a bar.

    by jparnell on Mon May 26, 2014 at 11:36:31 PM PDT

    •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caniac41

      Another thing I don't like at all about our war anthem is the hoot and hollers to the words "free" and "brave".  I cringe at every hockey game I go to because of our anthem.  I hate it.

      And I think the anthems at sports game is a little too militaristic for me.

      "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

      by Damnit Janet on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:47:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You might want to start with the State Anthem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midnight lurker, Dave1955

    If I recall, the first stanza of "O Maryland, My Maryland" advocates secession (or comes very close).  I think it was also adopted in the 1930s.

    •  The Words Were Written in 1861 (0+ / 0-)

      It became the state song in 1939. The entire song is about resisting the Union Army "vandals," etc. LINK It's hard to understand what the sentiment was in 1939 that carried the vote in the state legislature in favor of the song.

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:13:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not just the first stanza (0+ / 0-)

      One of the later stanzas includes the gem, "Huzzah! She spurns the Northern scum."  

      "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes." - Lewis Carroll

      by Dave1955 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:55:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right, I want to do a diary on that too n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

      by Navy Vet Terp on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:57:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Het Wilhemus"-The Dutch National Anthem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I've always favored "America the Beautiful."

    Today, I find the Dutch National Anthem to especially moving too.

    Enjoy!

    "Het Wilhemus" - The Dutch National Anthem

    "Grab a mop!" - President Barack Obama

    by dirigo on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:31:09 AM PDT

  •  There's nothing treasonous about standing up (5+ / 0-)

    for humanity. I agree with Navy Vet Terp on "our national anthem" needing to go. The third verse is decisive.

    But I personally am henceforth banning from my throat all nationalistic anthems.

    I was in church this past Sunday in the Deep South, where I live near a major military base. At the conclusion of the service, the faithful assembled sang "God Bless America." You would have thought Jesus was descending from the rafters we were so convinced of our exceptionalism. What was "God" blessing about us in our minds? Our self-righteousness? Our belief in drone-dropping? NAFTA? Our right to have our thermostats down real low? I was already standing, and I did not cause a scene by sitting down. But, for once in my life, after a few words, I refused to sing that song.

    If there is a god, it/he/she would be ashamed of us. If a god had anything to do with creating our world, then equality among humanity would be what we should be singing in praise of, not nationalism. When we have a worldwide deep democracy, I will sing its praises. Until then, my off-key croaking will be used for Johnny Cash and singing goodnight to younger human beings I hope one day live in the United States of the Earth.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:50:38 AM PDT

  •  Next to of course god America... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lulusbackintown
    Next to of course god America
    ...
    He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water.
    I notice as I try to post it that this poem has been removed due to copyrights. It belongs to the Trust of e.e. cummings. It's worth the read, though. And this link has him reciting it.

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Tue May 27, 2014 at 04:02:46 AM PDT

  •  Our current National Anthem (0+ / 0-)

    doesn't celebrate guns and genocide enough.

    A more accurate and truthful National Anthem would be in order.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Tue May 27, 2014 at 05:37:20 AM PDT

  •  My choice (NSFW) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

  •  Personally, my favorite (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    national state anthem is one written by our former King , King David Kalakaua, of the Kingdom state of Hawai'i, and that is: Hawai'i Pono i:

    Hawai'i pono'i Nana i kou, moi
    Kalani Alii, ke Alii.
    Makua lani e Kamehameha e
    Na kaua e pale Me ka i he.
    Which every correctly raised kid in Hawai'i learns to sing, and sing with gusto!   Even as it pledges our allegiance to King Kamehameha I who united the Hawaiian Islands by throwing his enemies off the Pali Cliff!

    Aloha!

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:37:47 AM PDT

  •  How about this one? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    P E Outlier, nellgwen

    Another National Anthem (from Sondheim's Assassins)

    Sung by the whole cast of presidential assassins and wanna-be assassins:

    Another National Anthem [CZOLGOSZ]
    I did it because it was wrong for one man
    to have so much service when other men have none...

    [BOOTH]
    I did it to bring down the government of
    Abraham Lincoln and to avenge the ravaged South...

    [HINCKLEY]
    I did it to prove to her my everlasting love...

    [FROMME]
    I did it to make them listen to Charlie...

    [ZANGARA]
    I did it 'cause my belly was on fire...

    [GUITEAU]
    I did it to preserve the Union and promote the
    sale of my book...

    [MOORE]
    I did it so my friends would know where I was
    coming from...

    [BYCK]
    Where's my prize?

    [CZOLGOSZ]
    I did it because no on cared about the poor man's pain...

    [MOORE]
    I did it so I'd know where I was coming from...

    [BYCK]
    I want my prize...

    [ZANGARA]
    I did it 'cause the bosses made my belly burn...

    [HINCKLEY]
    I did it so she'd pay attention...

    [MOORE]
    So I'd have someplace to come from, and someplace
    to go...

    [BYCK]
    Don't I get a prize?

    [GUITEAU]
    I did it 'cause they said I'd be Ambassador to France...

    [BOOTH]
    I did it so they'd suffer in the North the way we'd
    suffered in the South...

    [BYCK]
    I deserve a fucking prize!...

    [FROMME]
    I did it so there'd be a trial, and Charlie would get to
    be a witness, and he'd be on TV, and he'd save the world!...

    [GUITEAU]
    Where's my prize?

    [BYCK]
    I did it to make people listen.

    [CZOLGOSZ, FROMME]
    They promised me a prize...

    [HINCKLEY]
    Because she wouldn't take my phone calls-

    [ALL (Except Zangara)]
    What about my prize?

    [ZANGARA]
    Because nothing stopped the fire-!

    [ALL (Except Byck)]
    I want my prize!...

    [BYCK]
    Nobody would listen!

    [BALLADEER]
    And it didn't mean a nickel,
    You just shed a little blood,
    And a lot of people shed a lot of tears.
    Yes, you made a little moment
    And you stirred a little mud-

    But it didn't fix the stomach
    And you've drunk your final Bud,
    And it didn't help the workers
    And it didn't heal the country
    And it didn't make them listen
    And they never said, "We're Sorry"-

    [BYCK]
    Yeah, it's never gonna happen,
    Is it?
    No, sir-

    [CZOLGOSZ]
    Never.

    [BYCK]
    No, we're never gonna get the prize-

    [FROMME]
    No one listens...

    [BYCK]
    -Are we?

    [ZANGARA]
    Never.

    [BYCK]
    No, it doesn't make a bit of difference,
    Does it?

    [OTHERS (Variously)]
    Didn't.
    Ever.

    [BYCK]
    Fuck it!

    [OTHERS]
    Spread the word...

    [ALL]
    Where's my prize?...

    [BALLADEER]
    I just heard
    On the news
    Where the mailman won the lottery.
    Goes to show:
    When you lose, what you do is try again.

    You can be
    What you choose,
    From a mailman to a president.
    There are prizes all around you,
    If you're wise enough to see:
    The delivery boy's on Wall Street,
    And the the usherette's a rock star-

    [BYCK]
    Right, it's never gonna happen, is it?
    Is it!

    [HINCKLEY, FROMME]
    No, man!

    [BYCK, CZOLGOSZ]
    No, we'll never see the day arrive-

    [ASSASSINS (Variously)]
    Spread the word...
    Will we?
    No, sir-
    Never!

    No one's ever even gonna care if we're alive,
    Are they?...
    Never...
    Spread the word...
    We're alive...
    Someone's gonna listen...
    Listen!

    [BYCK]
    Listen...
    There's another national anthem playing,
    Not the one you cheer
    At the ball park.

    [MOORE]
    Where's my prize?...

    [BYCK]
    It's the other national anthem, saying,
    If you want to hear-
    It says, "Bullshit!"...

    [CZOLGOSZ]
    It says, "Never!"-

    [GUITEAU]
    It says, "Sorry!"-

    [OTHERS]
    Loud and clear-

    [ASSASSINS (Variously)]
    It says: Listen
    To the tune that keeps sounding
    In the distance, on the outside,
    Coming through the ground,
    To the hearts that go on pounding
    To the sound
    Getting louder every year-

    Listen to the sound...
    Take a look around...

    We're the other national anthem, folks,
    The ones that can't get in
    To the ball park.

    Spread the word...

    There's another national anthem, folks,
    For those who never win,
    For the suckers, for the pikers,
    For the ones who might have been...

    [BALLADEER]
    There are those who love regretting,
    There are those who like extremes,
    There are those who thrive on chaos
    And despair.
    There are those who keep forgetting
    How the country's built on dreams-

    [ASSASSINS]
    People listen...

    [BALLADEER]
    -And the mailman won the lottery-

    [ASSASSINS]
    They might not want to hear it,
    But they listen,
    Once they thinks it's gonna stop the game...

    [BALLADEER]
    -And the usherette's a rock star.

    [ASSASSINS]
    No, they may not understand
    All the words,
    All the same
    They hear the music...
    They hear the screams...

    [BALLADEER]
    I've got news-

    [ASSASSINS]
    They hear the sobs,
    They hear the drums...

    [BALLADEER]
    -You forgot about the country-

    [ASSASSINS]
    The muffled drums,
    The muffled dreams...

    [BALLADEER]
    -So it's now forgotten you-

    [ASSASSINS]
    And they rise...

    [BYCK]
    You know why I did it?
    Because there isn't any
    Santa Claus!

    [ASSASSINS]
    Where's my prize?

    [BALLADEER]
    And you forgot-

    [ASSASSINS]
    What's my prize?

    [BALLADEER]
    -How quick it heals-

    [ASSASSINS]
    Promises and lies...

    [BALLADEER]
    -That it's a place
    Where you can make the lies come true-

    [ASSASSINS]
    Spread the word...

    [BALLADEER]
    -If you try-

    [ASSASSINS]
    Gotta spread the word...

    [BALLADEER]
    -That's all you have to do-

    [ASSASSINS]
    Right,
    All you have to do...

    Well, there's another national anthem,
    And I think it just began
    In the ball park.
    Listen hard...

    Like the other national anthem
    Say to each and every fan:
    If you can't do what you want to,
    Then you do the things you can.

    You've got to try again!

    Like they say,
    You've go to keep on trying
    Every day
    Until you get a prize...
    Until you get a prize...

    Until you're heard...
    Mustn't get discouraged...
    Spread the word...
    Mustn't give up hope...
    Up to you-
    Don't say-
    -What you choose...
    -It's never gonna happen...
    Spread the word...

    [ALL]
    You can always get a prize...

    [BOOTH]
    You can always get your dream...

    [BYCK]
    Sure, the mailman won the lottery...

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

    by pucklady on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:41:07 AM PDT

    •  An intensely powerful play, for sure. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nellgwen, pucklady

      I was fortunate enough to see the Roundabout production at Studio 54.  I do not give a standing ovation but for exceptional work, and I gave that company a standing ovation.

      Another National Anthem seems to be in the spirit of our times.

    •  I don't like Mondays (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pucklady

      No, it's the coconut oil, got to go, got to go. In today's news, the African country of Somalia has traded places with the U.S. state of Georgia. Said one Georgian resident, "Here we go again. Last time we got free vodka."

      by nellgwen on Tue May 27, 2014 at 12:07:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The national anthem is fine (5+ / 0-)

    I think ending on this question is unintended genius:

    Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
    Because it's not just a question about a colored piece of cloth is still being displayed.  It is also about whether the people who display it value freedom and show courage.

    And until we can value and advocate for civil rights for all American citizens and continue to make progress with that vision against all external and internal pressures, we have to answer "no".  

    So it's a challenge and a challenge central to what this nation is about.  We can celebrate the hue of our geological features if we want, but America is an idea.

    My biggest quibble with the anthem is its focus on military struggle against external threats.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:43:04 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this. (0+ / 0-)

    I never knew the whole story!

    Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

    by expatjourno on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:04:16 AM PDT

  •  As a Native Baltimoran and a Terp (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen, Navy Vet Terp

    well, I was trying to think of a cute quip, but it escapes me.

    Yeah -- it's a bit tough to sing, and so many performers try to make it an aria or gospel piece or some other musical malfeasance.

    One of the better History Channel shows was on the War of 1812. How could a single event reshape history? Supposedly a British shell landed smack dab in the middle of the powder store in Ft. McHenry containing I forget how many thousands of pounds of powder. Had the shell exploded, it would have leveled the fort and everything else for miles. If Baltimore fell, there was not much to stop the British from marching up the east coast and, possibly, re-establishing British rule over the "colonies."

    Kind of scary to think about it.

    •  Then we'd all have sexy British accents. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zbob

      And maybe we could have had an end to slavery without a civil war.
      And the Beatles might have come from Boston.

      No, it's the coconut oil, got to go, got to go. In today's news, the African country of Somalia has traded places with the U.S. state of Georgia. Said one Georgian resident, "Here we go again. Last time we got free vodka."

      by nellgwen on Tue May 27, 2014 at 12:11:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Maryland Jewish Museum (0+ / 0-)

      On Lloyd Street between Lombard and Baltimore Streets, will be having an exhibit opening September 14th, the 200 anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore, on Mendes Cohen, a Jewish guy from Baltimore who doused the smoking gunpowder in the Fort McHenry magazine.  Were it not for Cohen, the fort would have blown to kingdom come and, as you say, leveled everything for miles.  He and his brother Philip were heroes of the battle and a source of pride for us Jewish Baltimoreans with a sense of our history.  I'd love to meet you there.

      "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

      by Navy Vet Terp on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:54:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As Laurie Anderson said - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone, Navy Vet Terp

    (paraphrased)

    Our national anthem is a dadist masterpiece.  Most other national anthems are along the lines of "We're number one! This is the best place!" while ours is a serious of questions asked during a fire.

    "Hey, is that a flag I see?"  "I dunno, it's pretty smoky."

    "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but us can free our minds." - Bob Marley

    by nightsweat on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:56:53 AM PDT

  •  This is why I generally disliked lit classes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    schumann, Navy Vet Terp

    in high school and college...  Over thinking things.  I mean, how many PhDs are given in literature where thousands of students analyze and reanalyze the same text.  How many different ways can one analyze the same thing...

    The history lesson is still cool.  I did know there were more stanzas than the first one, though I had never read them before.  But your title clearly states that you want us to change our national anthem, so it's not just a history lesson.

    The national anthem is fine just as is.  I love the prominent brass elements, which blends very well with the strings.  Who cares if it's difficult to sing, octave wise - most people can't sing anyway.

    Bill Maher is 100% correct when he says liberals have to stop being obnoxious.  This is a perfect example of that.

    People should tag me as a "Bill Maher liberal" because I've been agreeing with him on everything lately.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:03:53 AM PDT

  •  "The Power and the Glory" is still my #1 choice... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen, schumann

    ... even though I love Woody's "This Land Is Your Land," there's something about the balance of humility and pride in the Phil Ochs' anthem that never fails to stir me. Especially when he describes his love of country by saying:

    "... But she's only as rich as the poorest of the poor,
    Only as free as a padlocked prison door,
    Only as strong as our love for this land,
    Only as tall as we stand.
    Here is a land full of power and glory,
    Beauty that words cannot recall.
    Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom,
    Her glory shall rest on us all."

    Too bad the nation couldn't live up to that vision, and that failure helped to kill the artist who wrote it. But the song remains a favorite with me because it's easy to sing, inclusive in its message, and genuinely patriotic in the sense that the lyrics speak to our collective need "to make this a more perfect union" through a constant struggle that never ends, because the work of democracy is never done.

  •  But without the slow and plodding Star (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    Spangled Banner, what song could possibly serve as a platform for self-indulgent soloists at baseball games?

  •  I have always wanted to sing the 3rd stanza (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen, Navy Vet Terp

    during the anthem, but I can't get the lyrics and vocals to match up.

    I can do the second stanza, but not the 3rd.

    From the moment I read the other stanzas, I have thought it a fairly brutish song.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:23:35 AM PDT

  •  I vote for this one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone, nellgwen

    Its a little long with 6 verses.

    "The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy." Kurt Vonnegut - "A Man Without a Country", 2005.

    by BOHICA on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:44:08 AM PDT

  •  I prefer "America the Beautiful" eom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Indiana Bob



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:12:52 AM PDT

  •  Our anthem is public domain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thm

    I like the anthem the U.S. has, so I think we should keep "The Star-Spangled Banner". Unlike (m)any of the other songs mentioned in the comments, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is not protected by copyright and is in the public domain.

  •  supposedly a way to tell Axis spies in WWII (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    "Real Americans" would only know the first stanza, but overtrained Axis spies allegedly would know the others and expose themselves if challenged to sing them or would even offer them up automatically.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:29:40 AM PDT

  •  anthem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen, mconvente

    Wow, could you imagine how the right would crap their pants if somebody actually brought up a bill to change the anthem

    •  Unless their suggestion was (0+ / 0-)

      Sweet Home Alabama.

      No, it's the coconut oil, got to go, got to go. In today's news, the African country of Somalia has traded places with the U.S. state of Georgia. Said one Georgian resident, "Here we go again. Last time we got free vodka."

      by nellgwen on Tue May 27, 2014 at 12:18:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary! I agree our Anthem is horrible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    Not only does it reference fear and war, it also is melodically horrible.  A national anthem should be easy to sing with a simple, compelling melody.

    America the Beautiful.  This Land is Your Land.  There are dozens of songs that would make much more sense.

    Lyrically, our's is not has bad as the French national anthem, where every line is about war, but at least that one is melodically sensible (and one of my favorite scenes in Casablanca)

    But this diary is great!  I didn't even know there were the other stanzas.  Very well researched and presented.

    To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    by Indiana Bob on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:46:27 AM PDT

  •  Who wrote "O Canada"? (0+ / 0-)

    Both the lyrics and the melody are incredibly easy to sing.  Too bad whoever wrote our northern neighbors' anthem didn't write one for us.

  •  Right now it should be Gil Scott-Herin's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    "Winter In America"

    From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
    And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
    Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
    Looking for the rain
    Looking for the rain

    Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
    Living in a nation that just can't stand much more
    Like the forest buried beneath the highway
    Never had a chance to grow
    Never had a chance to grow

    And now it's winter
    Winter in America
    Yes and all of the healers have been killed
    Or sent away, yeah
    But the people know, the people know
    It's winter
    Winter in America
    And ain't nobody fighting
    'Cause nobody knows what to save
    Save your soul, Lord knows
    From Winter in America

    The Constitution
    A noble piece of paper
    With free society
    Struggled but it died in vain
    And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
    Hoping for some rain
    Looks like it's hoping
    Hoping for some rain

    And I see the robins
    Perched in barren treetops
    Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
    But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
    Never had a chance to grow
    Never had a chance to grow

    And now it's winter
    It's winter in America
    And all of the healers have been killed
    Or been betrayed
    Yeah, but the people know, people know
    It's winter, Lord knows
    It's winter in America
    And ain't nobody fighting
    Cause nobody knows what to save
    Save your souls
    From Winter in America

    And now it's winter
    Winter in America
    And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
    Yeah, and the people know, people know
    It's winter
    Winter in America
    And ain't nobody fighting
    Cause nobody knows what to save
    And ain't nobody fighting
    Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
    And ain't nobody fighting
    Cause nobody knows what to save

    To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    by Indiana Bob on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:53:05 AM PDT

  •  Gil Scott-Herron (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    by Indiana Bob on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:53:45 AM PDT

  •  I modestly propose... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    ...we change our national anthem to "Blitzkrieg Bop."  It gets played at just about as many sporting events as our current national anthem.  Also, too, "hey ho, let's go" is a more accurate expression of not only our national character now, but of the level of eloquence of most of our citizens.  

    Plus, you can pogo to it.  No other national anthem could make that claim.

    Seriously, I do not see a downside here.

    When you punch enough holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

    by Roddy McCorley on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:06:42 AM PDT

  •  America the Beautiful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    is easily the most beautiful song in the competition, but I'm so tired of 'God' being in our public spaces, so that's out.

    Personally, I'd like it to be 'The Night They Drove ole Dixie Down', but I think that might be rubbing it in a bit.  Too soon?

    So unfortunately, I think the song that best expresses where most of the country has gone and probably expresses what the 'new' America is all about is Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'

    "We don't need no education"
    "We don't need no thought control"

    Paranoia and stupidity all in one song! On second thought, that's just too Republican, we can just let them use that at their convention.

    What to do, what to do?

    So I guess we're left with "America! Fuck Yeah!" from Team America: World police and the South Park guys.

    No, we can't have 'fuck' in our national anthem.  That's worse than God!

    But that gives me an idea.  A song we can all get excited over and this one's also from the South Park guys.

    "Blame Canada"

    What could be more completely American that blaming other countries for our problems?  I say we go with that and we can just randomly change the name of the country depending on who we're fighting at the moment, with Canada sort of being the default.

  •  I vote for "This Land is Your Land." Pete Seeger (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp, martinjedlicka

    did the best cover IMHO.

    The best "Star Spangled Banner" I ever heard was belted out by an African-American policeman here in Orlando. It was during an Arena Football playoff game a good 10+ years ago. That guy could have sung opera; he had the pipes. I can't tell you how many times I heard that tune butchered at both NFL and AFL games.

    I'm new to this group, but I already love it. Great diary and comments!! T and R!!

    Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

    by orlbucfan on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:41:47 AM PDT

  •  What about You Are My Sunshine? (0+ / 0-)

    or
    Got My Mojo Working.

    No, it's the coconut oil, got to go, got to go. In today's news, the African country of Somalia has traded places with the U.S. state of Georgia. Said one Georgian resident, "Here we go again. Last time we got free vodka."

    by nellgwen on Tue May 27, 2014 at 12:27:39 PM PDT

  •  pledge (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see the pledge of allegiance not made mandatory for children.  Its really really weird to watch kids recite something when they don't understand, and its something worse that adults would perpetrate this on children.

    that kids in the hall skit did a good job of satirizing it.

  •  Maybe it's not a matter of changing the anthem... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    but inventing newer, more representative lyrics.

    I'd say something about how the Union won the Civil War or the USA saved the world from Fascism in WW2. Maybe something about how we helped Europe in WW1. Seriously.

    I can't say much more for the other wars we have prosecuted.

    Change the lyrics. It's true, the music is heck to sing.

    I don't think we'll find any other anthem that is so acceptable to all.

    Yeah, change the lyrics so that we paste down the Confederacy in one or two stanzas. Works for me.

    Ugh. --UB.

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:00:36 PM PDT

    •  I just saw annieli's post: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Navy Vet Terp

      They write, and I quote:

      "In indignation over the start of the American Civil War, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. added a fifth stanza to the song in 1861 which appeared in songbooks of the era.

      "When our land is illumined with liberty's smile,
      If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
      Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
      The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
      By the millions unchained,
      Who their birthright have gained
      We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
      And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
      While the land of the free is the home of the brave."

      Excellent. Send out the dogs!

      Ugh. --UB.

      The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

      by unclebucky on Tue May 27, 2014 at 03:03:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't answer the poll... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    ...because I've known the fourth stanza since childhood.

    Why? Because one of the Baltimore-Washington local stations used to play a folk version of the fourth stanza when it went off the air at night.

    I don't like America, the Beautiful because I find it a tad too religious for my taste. And what is this "thy whiter jubilee" stuff in the last stanza?

    Let's just steal "Oh, Canada!" That's a song!

  •  I'd go with Woody Guthrie's n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

    by martinjedlicka on Tue May 27, 2014 at 05:15:38 PM PDT

  •  I never knew there were 4 stanzas (0+ / 0-)

    but I always liked The Star Spangled Banner precisely because it was so hard to sing. I used to sing when I was younger and it was a fine tune to practice with.

    The war-like 1st stanza never bothered me either. We're a damn war-like country. Why bother to hide it?

    I wouldn't protest if people decided to change it though unless they went for American the Beautiful. That song is so utterly bland and boring. You don't make something that banal a National Anthem.

    This Land is Your Land? No. A thousand times no. I actually don't have a suggestion. Right now I just know what I wouldn't want.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party.

    by Ysmene on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:52:40 PM PDT

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