By Mehvish Quraishy
“The dawn’s early light” and “O’er the ramparts we watch’d” probably sound like lines from Shakespeare to you, right? WRONG! If you were among those fooled, you probably haven’t sung the Star Spangled Banner in a long time. Don’t worry; according to the National Association for Music Education, approximately half of American high school students were just as oblivious as you were.
It is shocking that a significant percentage of American high school students were unable to associate those lyrics with the national anthem. Of course, once told where the verses came from they quickly realized their mistakes and responded with “Ohhh”s and “Ahhh”s. So, it’s not like they’ve never heard the Star Spangled Banner before. But then, how and why have they forgotten it?
The answer is simple: lack of practice. As we get older, we don’t tend to sing our country’s national anthem anymore because we are not required to do so. ABC News reports that many of us learn the words when we’re younger, probably in elementary school through our social studies or music class, or maybe through a parent or friend.
How do you measure up?
1) 38% of teenagers don’t know the official name of the National Anthem
2) Only 15% of American teenagers can sing the National Anthem from memory
3) Nearly 61% of Americans do not know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner
4) 39% of American’s who claimed to know all the words could not sing past the third line
5) Over 70% of Americans learned the Star Spangled Banner in school
Facts from: www.nationalanthemproject.org/factsheet
According to a Harris Interactive survey of 2,200 individuals all across America, nearly two out of every three Americans don’t know all the words to the Star-Spangled Banner; this study includes adults too. Consequently, first lady, Laura Bush has now become honorary chairwoman of The National Anthem Project, a threeyear education campaign to re-teach America to sing the national anthem, with major singing celebrations throughout the country.
It’s a good thing that someone stepped in to help, because as far we can tell Americans could use all the practice they can get. Let’s face it, the last time any of us heard or sang the Star Spangled Banner was either at our little brother’s baseball game or on television at the beginning of the Super Bowl.
Ultimately, although patriotism skyrocketed post-9/11, there has been a significant decline in recent years. It is unfortunate that it takes a nationwide catastrophe to bring about such positive feelings. A majority of us need to be reminded of national pride and unity and let those feelings emerge without having to suffer tragic events