In honor of Flag Day, we thought we’d talk a little about our National Anthem. When you’re at a sporting event or a ceremony, how often do you really pay attention to the “Star Spangled Banner”? Everyone knows the story of Francis Scott Key observing our flag as it remained raised during the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the war of 1812. And most may or may not know all the lyrics to the song (set to the music of an old drinking song!). Most likely you’ve cringed at a horrible rendition (or lip synching) by some tone-deaf, warbling pop princess or someone’s barely audible little kid.
But at the Bruins hockey game at the TD Garden on April 17, only two days after the horrific attack at the Boston Marathon, our national anthem took on entirely new significance.
Surrounded by the color guard of the Boston Fire Department, the “Garden’s” legendary singer Rene Rancourt began to sing, but after only a few words, he signaled for the audience to join in. The response brought viewers nationwide to tears, as the Garden’s entire audience of 17,000+ lifted their voices to proudly sing along! Rancourt said in an ESPN article that he was so choked up after singing “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” he didn’t think he’d be able to continue. But then, “[The fans] piped right in like we had rehearsed it for an hour. It was an amazing, amazing feeling.”
So next time you’re at an event where they play our National Anthem, go ahead, sing along – but as Christina Aguilera learned, you probably want to be sure to learn the words first!