- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 1, 2000

Common-sense reasons to say bye-bye to 'Banner'

Regarding the Op-Ed column "Star-spangled violence" (Dec. 21), there are other reasons, more legitimate ones, for changing the national anthem.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;First, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is difficult to sing. The range of notes is wide, and most people cannot comfortably sing all of it, finding some notes too low and others too high. The two most-named alternatives, "America the Beautiful" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee," are much easier on the vocal cords.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Also, the tune for "The Star-Spangled Banner" was taken from an old British drinking song. It's ironic enough that we would choose to put our national anthem to British music, since the lyrics were inspired by a battle with the British, but to choose a pub song is simply gauche.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Remember, too, that the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem was not from the American Revolution, but from the War of 1812. There is nothing particularly wrong about this, but it would seem more appropriate, if we have a war song as our anthem, to refer to the war that gave birth to our nation.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Finally, most people are under the impression that "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been our anthem for a long time, and they feel that changing it would amount to an unthinkable attack on a venerable institution. The song only became our national anthem in 1931, quite a short time ago even in our nation's brief history.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;The columnist, Lowell Ponte, seems to be of the opinion that those, such as myself, who wish to change our national anthem, are the height of politically correct absurdity. Our reasons, however, are much more profound.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Thanks for your attention to my viewpoint.
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;PARRISH S. KNIGHT
&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;&160;Silver Spring

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