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the colors that never run

January 24, 2013 - John Stack
No matter how often I hear it, the Star Spangled Banner always gets me. I love the song. I love the story behind the song. Francis Scott key seeing our flag was still flying after the bombardment of Ft McHenry. When I visited Washington DC, one of the high points was seeing the original Star Spangled Banner Flag at the National Museum of American History. I have a replica of the flag flying outside my house. The song, and the flag, to me represent all that is good and great in America. Doesn’t matter who you are. You stand for the National Anthem at all sporting or other events, regardless of your political persuasion or personal feelings. To sing the National Anthem, it should be treated with respect. It doesn’t matter if you are at Yankee Stadium, or a Little League game. Almost everybody sings it to their best abilities, the way it is supposed to be sang. To sing such a tough song musically, and in front of almost always a lot of people, can be nerve-wracking. But we cheer those that sing it well, and we cheer those who give it their best try. Then, there are those we don’t. Roseanne Barr set the bar pretty low. Back in 1990 she gave one of the most God-awful renditions of the Star Spangled Banner at a Padres game. But, it was a publicity stunt. To mock the National Anthem is always wrong, but the Padres management should have known better. Roseanne has never kowtowed to any traditions and this shouldn’t have been unexpected. The crowd did expectedly boo her.

Then Whitney Houston gives the ‘iconic rendition’ of the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl. Everyone who heard it was blown away. But…she lip synched it. That didn’t go well with me, or with many people. People might say it was no big deal, but I will remember Whitney Houston more for going from an iconic American singer to a drug addled lip syncher.

Then comes along Beyonce and Obama’s inauguration. Now, Beyonce doesn’t have the pipes that Whitney Houston possessed. And she is more style than substance. But, at the peak of her fame, she decides to fool the American public by also faking the anthem. The spokespeople said that with the weather, her lack of rehearsal time, blah blah blah it was acceptable. You get NO points for nailing the National Anthem in a recording studio! That’s why a person like Derek Jeter hits a 10th inning home run after midnight in the 2001 World Series. He didn’t come to bat and stop the game, ask the umpire to cue up his batting practice home run, and insert that in for his shot at destiny. That’s why Alex Rodriguez is an enigma and not a legend. He can’t take one of his 600 plus regular season home runs and add it into his playoff failures. What about Martin Luther King Jr? Did he give his “I have a dream speech” as a taped message? No. He also didn’t give his speech at the local “Boys and girls Club’. He literally stood up to the Mic and gave arguably the greatest speeches ever given in front of 200,000 on the national mall. That’s what a legend is.

That’s what America is missing. People expect perfection, but are willing to replace real strength, real guts, real soul for a manufactured “moment”. As to what a National Anthem should sound like, check out the attached video (shot by your’s truly) at last years NCAA Div 3 hockey championships at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. The singers are Dave Schneider, Tom Andrukevich, Shawn Fogel, Mat Orefice and Cary Polick of The Zambonis. They all considered it a highlight of their career, and an honor to have been able to perform it live.

Here's to America's colors,


Article Comments



Jan-29-13 8:44 PM

John, You and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum but I think you are spot on with this column.


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