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When Freedom Sings: Time for a New National Anthem

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War, peace, freedom, and who the hell can sing the Star Bangled Banner, anyway?

Generally, I simply delete the hostile emails forwarded to me by bigots, homophobes, and fundamentalists, but occasionally they provoke my pen. Like this one, about the national anthem:

It is Time for America to SPEAK UP! After hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - enough is enough! Nowhere did they sing it in Italian, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German or any other language because of immigration. It was written by Francis Scott Key and should be sung word for word the way it was written. NOT sorry if this offends anyone because this is MY COUNTRY - IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP. 
I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else … AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and GOD BLESS AMERICA! If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone -- YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

OK, I’m American, and I’m speaking up! I come from a family of immigrants. Most immigrated a couple hundred years ago, but some have been here longer than that. I’m not sure how long, but they likely took the Siberian route.

And I’m speaking up! I live in Southern California, and I am becoming multilingual just by reading billboards. I’m not paying $85 a credit for it, either, like I did when I studied French and Russian. I’m getting a free education in a foreign language. Damn, this is a great country.

I’m speaking up! Our national anthem is filled with war imagery, and I’d prefer to intone something a little more uplifting. We had to sing The Star Spangled Banner in grade school. But I stopped by the time I was 14, because I gave some thought to what the lyrics meant, and I didn't want to worship war with my words.

That sender of the email is upset that these lyrics about bombs and war might be sung in a language other than English. But the way I figure it, the less people that understand the words, the better. I say, let’s make them sing it in Farsi or something, then even fewer people will get the bloody meaning.

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Oh, say can you see,

By the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hailed 

At the twilight's last gleaming,

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Whose broad stripes and bright stars, 

Through the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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NO national anthem.Tribalism is a primitive emotio... by mrk * on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 8:34:13 AM
We're not supposed to be one nation anyway. Ea... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 6:30:46 AM
although Katharine Lee Bates has some lovely lines... by Jan Baumgartner on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 10:12:56 AM
If we must have a national anthem (and I believe i... by Putnik on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 11:24:03 AM
Trust the American Pie Guy to come up with provoca... by Meryl Ann Butler on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 1:20:35 PM
Yes, the words to the "Star Spangled Banner&q... by Putnik on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 2:45:20 PM
I agree with Mrk; it's time to move beyond &qu... by Amara Rose on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 1:34:31 PM
All the bric a brac is for them.  How about &... by John Hanks on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 1:59:25 PM
I'd wanted to include this flash presentation in m... by Amara Rose on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 4:46:19 PM
thankyouveddymuch   o-o-o-o-o, i wuvs dat wom... by Meryl Ann Butler on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 11:02:10 PM
While I'm a staunch believer in equality &... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 6:42:32 AM
While I understand your sentiment, I do not believ... by POdVet on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 5:13:43 PM
Perhaps we should all wait a bit before decid... by Munich on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 6:32:19 PM
What goads me more than anything though is to hear... by Stanimal on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 3:35:07 AM
I think there is a hell of a lot more important&nb... by iman on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 9:05:23 AM
I would love to see the Star Spangled Banner disap... by Jim Grant on Monday, May 19, 2008 at 9:44:07 AM
Jim,   Thank you for posting, I LOVE this son... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, May 19, 2008 at 12:56:37 PM
I believe to invoke God or Goddess is to imply in ... by POdVet on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 9:25:53 PM
I believe the terms Jefferson used in the Declarat... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 10:07:58 PM
I wish I had known all the details about this song... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 11:09:08 PM
It is high time to change the song. This Land is... by Michael Dewey on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 1:04:06 AM
It's available on iTunesTHIS LAND IS YOUR LAND... by Meryl Ann Butler on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 1:14:33 AM
 Thanks for the last verse to "This Land... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 7:26:08 AM