This morning I participated in the Fort Wayne’s Women’s Bureau Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. This was the fourth consecutive year that I have done so (walking in three inch heels is no more difficult than standing in three inch heels…unfortunately, standing in three inch heels is quite painful).
Just before the Walk began, there was a singing of the Star Spangled Banner. I believe this has been done every year, but I do not have an actual memory of it. This is probably because previous years were done just like this years. A local singer performed the anthem and the rest of us stood and respectfully listened. I admit to the possibility that this was the first year they had the anthem sung due to the next day being 9/11.
The singer this year did a fine job of it, but it seemed to me that she sang it even higher than it usually is sung and she threw in enough flourishes that it would have been difficult to follow along. And no one followed along. Except for what happened later in the day and the fact that I am blogging this, I doubt I would have any memory of her performance next year (as I have no memory of previous years performances if there were any).
This evening, Debby and I attended the 2011-12 opening night of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. The lights went down and the conductor came out, took his place, raised his baton and the music commenced. Unexpectedly, it was the Star Spangled Banner. There was a chorus singing. Sounded good! I was looking around to see where was the chorus? Then I realized that there was no chorus, the fine singing I was hearing was the audience. I joined in (arguably diminishing the quality of the singing, but enhancing the quality of the event). The orchestra played a fairly standard rendition and people sang when they could and did not sing when they could not.
It sounded great. And we were all (ok, most of us) actively involved in affirming our shared love of our country. The contrast with the morning performance is stark.