The Star Spangled Banner - Handle with Care

Today is Veteran's day, for those of you who did not know. As such, on my first deployment, I have attained true Veteran Status to the point that I can sign up at my local cahpter of the VFW.

Well, on any patriotic event here in Kosovo, we have a formation. Today was no different. I'm not going to comment much on the formation itself, besides the fact that it was foggy and cold, and fortunately very brief, but I would like to make a point to bring up today's rendition of the National Anthem.

I don't know where to begin.

See, to me, the Star Spangled Banner has in times past envoked emotions within me that have led me to shed tears. It is a powerful song of incredible influence over a crowd. I remember standing up at Basketball games in High School and face the flag with everyone else in the crowd as my throat would start to hurt and I tried to keep myself from crying. It has often had that sort of impact on me. I have always loved this song.

The one fault of the song is that not just anybody can successfully sing it. I know I can't, not at the top of my lungs at least. In fact, one of the greatest criticisms of this song is the fact that it attains octaves that most normal human beings can't reach.

It is a song that can bring you to tears, or cause you to cringe in pain.

Today, I cringed in pain. I stood there in formation, at the position of Present Arms, trying not to do anything to give away my displeasure at how the song was performed. It was sung by three or four people trying to harmonize together (I don't know the exact numbers because I could not see the stage due to the brilliance of putting the tall people to the front of the formation and making all of us pipsqueaks stand toward the rear) who I would wager by themselves would have performed the song well. But singing it together, well, at one point I thought they were screaming into the microphone, it sounded awful. I don't think they even practiced before hand, because if somebody would have heard them singing together, they would have canceled that right then and there and found a different arrangement.

This performance rivaled that of Rosanne.

I love my country. I pray that I never have to cringe at the performance of its national anthem again.

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