I don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance nor do I sing The Star Spangled Banner. I’m not that kind of patriot.
My brand of patriotism is being an informed voter, voting, promoting our common bonds, and trying to better our country.
Last week, at my school, we had a Veterans Day concert. All of the students sang a song to honor the Veterans along with having a member of the military play Taps for us (what a sad, haunting and glorious sound). Listening to the songs the students were singing brought back fond memories of music class in elementary school.
Songs used included Yankee Doodle, The Star Spangled Banner and the anthems for each branch of the military. As each of the songs were sung, the words kept flashing through my mind. Yes, I know most, if not all, of the words of the songs. I wondered though how many children and young adults across the nation know the words to Yankee Doodle, God Bless America, America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, The Star Spangled Banner, This Land is Your Land, etc.
Sadly, not many I would venture.
When I was younger, most of the audience would sing the national anthem, but not anymore. When the military anthems were played, most of the audience would sing along, but not anymore. When America the Beautiful was played, again, most of the audience would sing along, but not anymore.
Realizing this made me sad. I wonder if some of our current division is because there isn’t anything that we all of have in common anymore on which to latch onto. Art in general, and songs in particular, are things we can bond over.
I’m just wondering, if the traditional songs of praise for our country came back into fashion, maybe, just maybe, we could remember our common culture and heritage. Maybe this would help us realize that although the United States might be having bit of a [major] hiccup, we are still a great nation who has been letting itself down for a little while.
Time to boost us back up.
So the next time you hear an “old-fashioned” song praising our country, like America the Beautiful, don’t just stand and listen, start singin. Maybe you’ll inspire others to join in, and for a moment, an instance, a nanosecond, we can feel and act as one. This in turn may begin to help us to think about the common good and how what helps lift one person, actually helps lift us all.
Shall we try and see what happens?