When people think of Independence Day, they’re usually reminded of fireworks, parades and family backyard barbecues. With me it’s the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Our national anthem has been the source of derision over the years — especially by comedian Daniel Tosh, who turned his distain for the song into a comedy routine.
“The national anthem blows,” he posted on his Facebook page. “Are you kidding me? Do any of you have it on your iPod?”
If I were ever in a Tosh audience I’d jump up, wave my arms and shout “Me! It’s on my iPod and I have it in four versions!”
The first is conservative rock group Madison Rising’s heart-thumping rendition, sung by front man and U.S. Navy veteran Dave Bray.
“No, it’s not like Jimi Hendrix’s discordant, acid-rock guitar solo, nor Steven Tyler’s ear-splitting, screeching vocals” I opined in a review of this version in BizPac Review. “This is good. This is the real deal, but I’ll let you judge for yourself.”
Madison Rising burst onto the music scene in 2011. Its first album of the same name contains such songs as “Right to Bear,” “American Dream” and “Hallowed Ground.” In case you’re wondering, those songs are also on my iPod.
Next up is the sweet, harmonious Cactus Cuties’ version, which was first performed publicly at a Texas Tech University basketball game on Feb, 9, 2008. The only recording of it was this amateur video. Although shaky, the words and music come through loud and clear and warm the heart.
Now comes one of South Florida’s favorites — little Julia Dale, who in this video performs the National Anthem before Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. This pint-sized ball of energy has been performing the Star Spangled Banner at Miami Heat games since she was 10 years old.
It seems as though every time she’s asked to sing at a Heat home game, Miami wins, so she’s become their little good luck charm. She was 12 when she belted out the lyrics here.
Bringing up the rear is my favorite — the late, great Whitney Houston, performed at Super Bowl XXV at Florida’s Tampa Stadium on January.27.1991.
Frank Gifford, who introduced Houston at the event, referred to her performance as “the most electric moment that I’ve ever seen in sports,” according to Google Books.
Fox News has been running a promotion lately in which it asks its viewers, “Are you proud of your country?” I didn’t bother participating because my once strong sense of patriotism has steadily waned in the last five years.
The United States has become the source of ridicule on the world stage. Our enemies no longer fear us, our allies no longer trust us and for the first time in history, our national credit has been downgraded to the point where the dollar is now in doubt as the world’s standard of exchange.
But my faith was reversed the moment I reacquainted myself with The Star Spangled Banner. Tears flowed, heart swelled and pride returned. Is this a great country or what?