National Anthem: Follow Robert Merrill


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Have heard some TERRIBLE renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” on ESPN and other places.

Maybe Congress should pass a law that anyone singing the American National Anthem, must FIRST review a film, DVD, CD or whatever of opera star Robert Merrill singing the National Anthem (much at New York Yankees games). This is what Francis Scott Key envisioned in what he wrote that was adopted as the American National Anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play it) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Some singers know they cannot do it right. They fudge it poorly or substitute “God Bless America”. I love Kate Smith and I love Saranac Lake, New York  where she lived, but save it for the “7th Inning Stretch”.
Because of the close affinity of the US with Canada for sporting events, especially hockey, some Canadian singers mess it up too. Only guy I know that does both right, is a guy named Art. He is an “Irish Tenor” from Québec (Rosemere, Ste Therese or Broisbiand?). A retiree (like thousands of others) from the General Motors now-closed Sainte-Thérèse Assembly Plant, he is also well known for “Oh Danny Boy” including verses you might never have heard .
Pictured above is our flag (a GIANT version) at the Rhone American Cemetery in Draguignan, France where I spent Memorial Day. Amy Malone sang both the Star Spangled Banner AND La Marseillaise PERFECTLY.

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