Sunday, May 01, 2005

"And the home of the brave!"

A photo or two before and after our successful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Pirates' game this afternoon. The acoustics were actually pretty resonant there around home plate of PNC Park. And happily, the stands blocked the wind. Pretty chilly for the 1st of May.

This was a grand experience, but it raised a question that's been bothering me for quite awhile: Why doesn't the crowd at sports events or at patriotic observances ever get to sing the National Anthem any more? It really isn't that hard to sing. If you can't hit the high notes, don't hit the high notes. The tune started out as a drinking song, for goshsakes. Let the citizenry jump in and have a go at it, like we used to in dim ages past-- oh, around five years ago.

It's as if we expect some professional artist or special group to be patriotic on our behalf. Kind of like sending the troops over to do our fighting for us. Yes, they are specially-trained, and we can't honor their dedication and sacrifice too highly. But it doesn't take the rest of us off the hook. It doesn't make us into spectators. It doesn't mean we can sit back and watch as if their fight has no claim on us. If--(God forbid) when-- the terrorists strike on our shores again, we're all combatants. That's how we need to think of ourselves, even if we never strike a physical blow in freedom's cause. Even if we only respond with courage and determination and resourcefulness in the face of atrocity. But how are we going to get ourselves into that mindset if we can't or won't even sing our own National Anthem for ourselves? That is not a job that should be left to the pros!

Mustering the troops