Christina Aguilera’s “Star-Spangled Banner” snafu shocked those who tuned into Superbowl XLV on Feb. 7.
Many of us might think it was ridiculous of her to mess up one of our nation’s most well-known patriotic songs, but let’s think about one concept – do a majority of Americans know all of the words to the “Star Spangled Banner?”
Scores in studies have shown that two out of three Americans don’t know all the words to the “Star Spangled Banner.” Those studies also indicated many aren’t sure which song it is or why it was even written to begin with.
In an article on Educationworld.com, budget cuts in schools have forced many schools to eliminate music, therefore eliminating students from learning “The Star Spangled Banner.”
During my elementary school days, every morning after the first bell rang, I along with the rest of my class would have to stand up, place my right hand over my heart and sing along to the words of “The Star Spangled Banner” as it played over the intercom, then follow up with saying “The Pledge of Allegiance.”
Sadly, after all those years of repeating it, I couldn’t sing the entire Anthem without messing up a few words here and there. Yes, I admit it.
I think it’s important for us as Americans to know the lyrics to our patriotic songs and acknowledge the reasons they were written. I had to look up who wrote the Star Spangled Banner – Francis Scott Key, and the year it was written- 1814.
It was written during the War of 1812. (Another fact that I either forgot or was not aware of). Key wrote the song as a poem describing the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor against the British (I did not know this either).
Aside from the history lesson, what I’m trying to say is although Aguilera’s performance of the song flopped – how many of us could actually get up there and sing the song word for word? I couldn’t, and I’m sure many others couldn’t either.
An experiment was done by Daily Beast reporter Clark Merrefield to see how many Americans could sing the song word for word. Those who succeeded would receive a cash prize of $10.
Merrefield challenged 73 adults ranging in ages 19-80. Out of 73 participants, eight people received $10, or 11 percent.
Only eight out of 73 people correctly recalling our National Anthem is an indication that a majority of us simply don’t know it or have forgotten it over time. That’s quite a low number in my opinion. I wouldn’t have received $10.
With so many people bashing Aguilera, calling the faux paus “sad” and “pathetic,” we should evaluate our own knowledge of our country’s songs, mottos, and values. I can guarantee a majority of us couldn’t get 100 percent if we were tested on knowing this material.
I don’t think we could get a 50 percent. n