The National Anthem

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.

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