Later this afternoon, someone will sing the national anthem before the football game begins. I have no idea what the performer has planned, but based on previous big-events this Marine’s advice seems appropriate:
“So with all the kindness I can muster, I give this one piece of advice to the next pop star who is asked to sing the national anthem at a sporting event: save the vocal gymnastics and the physical gyrations for your concerts. Just sing this song the way you were taught to sing it in kindergarten – straight up, no styling. Sing it with the constant awareness that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watching you from bases and outposts all over the world. Don’t make them cringe with your self-centered ego gratification. Sing it as if you are standing before a row of 86-year-old WWII vets wearing their Purple Hearts, Silver Stars and flag pins on their cardigans and you want them to be proud of you for honoring them and the country they love – not because you want them to think you are a superstar musician. They could see that from your costume, makeup and your entourage. Sing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ with the courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America, not you. And please remember, not everything has to be sung as a spiritual song. We’re getting a little weary of that. Francis Scott Key does not need any help.” (Source: Blackfive.net)
May I add that, for the same reason, we don’t need spectacular pyrotechnic displays or gigantic flags that cover the entire field? Military ceremonies that involve the national colors always seem to be characterized by a greater sense of dignity and proportion than those created by Hollywood producers.
And while I’m at it, those who lead worship could benefit from reading the colonel’s advice, as well. Just sing the song.