National Anthem still chokes me up

Published 2:09 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2003

By By Lisa Tindell, Managing editor
IIt still chokes me up to hear a crowd of folks gathered for a special event and begin the whole thing with the singing of the National Anthem.
Friday night I attended a concert and was moved to tears when the auditorium full of people stood, with their hands over their hearts, and sang our National Anthem.
The song was done without music so the sounds of those voices singing The Star Spangled Banner could be heard clearly. Now mind you, some folks surely cannot carry a tune, but that only hindered my enjoyment and pride for a few moments.
When folks hit those high notes, they are doing it to show their pride, not their singing abilities. And when we all got to the line that says, "The land of the free, and the home of the brave," boy howdy did those voices sing loudly and proudly.
The song is played at just about every public event imaginable. You'll hear scratchy versions of the song at auto racing events in the area. You'll hear the high school band playing it prior to kick-off at every football game. You'll hear bad recordings played at other events. But, seldom do you hear only voices singing the praises of this great country.
I always have been one to get a little misty when I hear the song. My husband sometimes looks at me like I'm just a little bit left of center. You'd think after hearing the song an a semi-regular basis for more than 40 years, I would be over all that crying stuff. But no matter how many times I hear it, I get a little choked up. No matter how badly off key the singer sings it, the song still moves me. No matter how bad the recording is I still have to take a deep breath to hold my emotions in check.
It still amazes me that even though we can no longer pray out loud in many places, we can certainly sing of our undying faith and love of this country. I wonder just how that makes us look in the eyes of other countries. We can sing, albeit off key, about a piece of material with beautifully colored stripes that has become a symbol of our nation. But we have a problem with folks praying to a God whose name we put on every piece of currency in print. I have a problem with that. You'll see me bow my head in prayer at the beginning of every meeting, sporting event, or concert when given the opportunity.
I'm a singing kind of person. I'm a praying kind of person too!
So the next time you see me at an event that begins with the pledge of allegiance, The Star Spangled Banner and prayer, pass me a tissue. Chances are I'm in desperate need of it.