Opinion

The right way to sing the national anthem

Photo of Mark Corallo
Mark Corallo
Contributor

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about Christina Aguilera’s disrespectful rendition of our national anthem prior to the kick-off of last month’s Super Bowl. In the article, I advised Aguilera and other pop stars to “sing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ with the courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America, not you.”

My article must have touched a raw nerve. Since it first appeared in The Daily Caller on February 8th, I have received hundreds of positive responses. In fact, it turns out that the article was excerpted by a few intrepid patriots and turned into a mass email that went viral. Pretty cool if I do say so myself.

First of all, I want to thank The Daily Caller for providing the forum.

Second, I want to thank all of the people who emailed me to share their support. It’s gratifying to know that I gave voice to something that so many of us have been stewing over for a long time.

Third, I am glad to report that one of those responses included a solution. Her name is Tierney Allen. For all of you who thanked me for my (attempted) eloquence on behalf of “The Star Spangled Banner,” I think you’ll agree that I’m a mere piker compared to Tierney’s simple, beautiful, humble and stirring rendition — straight up, no styling: That’s the way it’s supposed to be sung — with reverence, humility and even a little joy. Tierney’s producer Scott Messina sent me the iTunes link. Thanks, Scott.

So, for all of you who want to send a message to the sports leagues, I recommend sending Tierney’s YouTube link to Roger Goodell at the NFL, Bud Selig at MLB, David Stern at the NBA and so on. Heck, send it to everyone you know. If anything deserves to go viral, it’s Tierney Allen’s rendition of the national anthem. Perhaps the suits will get the message if they receive a few thousand emails. It’s not asking too much to require that the singers check their egos at the stadium gates.

Finally, there were two responses in particular that reminded me why I wrote the piece in the first place and should give pause to anyone who is asked to sing the national anthem at a public event. Carlin Stuart, an 85-year-old WWII veteran, told me that he was “completely turned off by the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. Who in the hell wants to listen to a bunch of bellowing, jumping jackasses . . . murder our national hymns?” Well said, Mr. Stuart, and thank you for your service in the defense of freedom. Nobody should ever want to turn you off. You and your generation earned that much at least.

Leona Gustafson, “the daughter, grandmother, niece, and aunt of veterans . . . [and] the aunt of a young husband and father who gave his life during this past year in Afghanistan,” reminds us that the singing of the national anthem is a sacred trust — a pact with the living and the dead who have borne those broad stripes and bright stars into battle and still stand today, shoulder to shoulder, through the long and lonely night’s watch over freedom. Without them, there would be no land of the free to sing about.

Mark Corallo is the owner of Corallo Media Strategies, Inc, an Alexandria, Virginia Public Relations firm.

  • capngeo

    Let me state at the top that I love the USA. Shining city on the hill and all that, but…
    Part of the reason we frequently end up criticizing the anthem is that the song SUCKS, musically speaking, of course.
    It’s very difficult for the average person to sing, many if not most people have trouble remembering the words and it’s not particularly melodic.
    We need a new one.
    Many events and ceremonies are currently playing America The Beautiful along with the Star Spangled Banner anyway.
    We should make ATB our anthem.

  • Cheers

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od7JFRLI9pc
    This singer, Jim Conelison, sings the National Anthem at Chicago Blackhawks games. A few comments… 1. He sings the National Anthem beautifully and with respect. 2. The reason the fans are cheering… When the Blackhawks played in Canada a few years back, the people at the game actually booed the National Anthem and since then, Blackhawks’ fans have cheered through the National Anthem. It is not intended to be disrespectul.

  • sfergus1

    It would seem ideal to find someone who could lead the crowd in singing the national anthem. How many young people don’t know the words because they themselves have never been given the opportunity to sing it?

  • milty

    THIS is the way to sing it! Warning…developes goose pimples.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3qtv-9TGLo