Monday, February 7, 2011

Sorry, I have to get on my patriotic soap box...


So last night I enjoyed some great family time watching Super Bowl XLV.  As it is for many this is an annual tradition in our home.  We didn't have an official party nor did we attend any, but we made it great for us.

The game was a classic showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I am not a fan of either team, but I always love a great underdog story, so for the night I was a Packers fan.  I know the Packers were the favorite to win going into the game, but the Steelers have presented a much stronger presence in the past few years, so the Packers were really the underdogs; but they didn't let that stop them and they didn't disappoint.

As usual the commercials and the Halftime Show were highlights of the night (especially for the non-game aficionados).  In my opinion, the Halftime Show was one of the best in recent memory (they have all gone down hill since Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction).  The Black Eyed Peas put on a great performance.  As a child of the 80's it was great to see Slash, and Usher's performance was good too.  There did appear to be some technical problems with the sound levels especially for Fergie and Usher, but otherwise it was a good performance.  The commercials were a mixed bag of good ones and bad ones, but overall entertaining.

The disappointment of the evening came early, it was Christina Aguilera ruining the national anthem!!!  So here goes...

Christina Aguilera sang the Star-Spangled Banner, she displayed her usual octave range for all to hear, but she totally messed up the lyrics (nerves maybe).  Following the Anthem debacle, I personally tweeted (and posted to Facebook) that someone should get her a lyrics sheet before she attempts to do that again.  I then read several tweets and facebook comments, some negative, some positive, but for the most part many were expressing their disappointment with her singing of the anthem.

I can totally understand nerves effecting a person when they perform, and let's face it was the Super Bowl after all, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) sporting events of the year.  Trust me, I get all of that... BUT, Christina Aguilera is a 5 time Grammy award winning artist, nerves really?  There is a level of professionalism that is expected. It's the national anthem, you just don't mess that one up!  If it had been technical issues, I know that the enormous crowd, as well as all of us at home, would not have skipped a beat and just continued singing along; take the example of 8 year-old Elizabeth Hughes at an Admirals game; even an 8 year-old got it right. But unfortunately it wasn't technical issues, it was just a very disappointing performance.  Maybe she should have been more concerned with the words that with the demonstration of her octive range.

Am I harsh? Am I overly patriotic? Is there such a thing as too patriotic? I LOVE THIS COUNTRY AND I LOVE OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM.  I sing along whenever I hear it regardless of the venue; and yes the hairs on my arms stand and tears comes to my eyes.  That is just me, I love this country, I love our anthem, and I am proud to be a citizen of the USA.  If I had a better singing voice I would love to have the opportunity to sing this song in a public venue.

A little bit of Star Spangled Banner history: After spending the night of September 13, 1814 on the British Flagged Ship Tonnant, Francis Scott Key waited in anticipation to learn the fate of Fort McHenry following the British attack that had lasted through the night. The next morning Key awoke to learn that the American flag that was flying above the fort (which had been commissioned by Major George Armistead), was still there. This was the last enemy fire to fall on Fort McHenry.

Key who was a lawyer by trade was inspired; he wrote a poem entitled “Defence of Fort McHenry”. The poem was set to music (the tune of an old British song), and the title was later changed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and our national anthem was born (BTW, did you know that there are 3 additional verses that we don’t usually sing?). It was first recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, by the President in 1916, and became our national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931.
Below are the lyrics we usually sing.  I took the liberty of highlighting what was missed:

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Ok, stepping of the soap box now!

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