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Our National Anthems

Since it is the day before Veterans Day, 2008, I got to thinking about our national anthem. I love “The Star Spangled Banner.” It gets me every time I hear it. Chills down the spine. Lump in the throat. Without a doubt, in my mind at least, it is the most beautiful national anthem anywhere. I watched the Olympics this year and heard many different anthems and I guess I’d have to be from those countries to appreciate their anthems as much as “The Star Spangled Banner.” But I don’t think Americans have to be limited to just one anthem.

To me, just one anthem doesn’t cover the breadth and depth of my love for America. “The Star Spangled Banner” covers the birth of our Nation and it reminds us of the struggle it took to birth this country. But we’ve got two hundred years of trials and tribulations under our belt and there are some parts that shouldn’t be forgotten. Ever.

The American Revolution birthed our collection of individual states, but the War Between The States solidified our loose collection of states as more than just the sum of the individual states and truly made us one nation indivisible under God. With that in mind, I want to suggest Elvis Presley’s version of “American Trilogy” as an additional anthem that everyone should hear. In the past few months, whenever I’ve appeared on WMOX AM1010, I’ve opened the show with the audio version of this performance. It is truly an American Classic sung by the only King we’ve every had in America. ‘Nuff said, watch it below and pay particular attention to Elvis’ face when the horns come in strong around the 3:30 mark. Wow!

But that’s not the only song that comes to my mind as an additional anthem. Everytime I hear Lee Greenwood sing “God Bless The USA” the tears well in my eyes because it is a song that comes closer to where I live everyday than any other. A lot has been written about this song, but I won’t. Just watch this live performance of Lee Greenwood from 1985. You’ll get the point.

And finally, my third selection for an alternate anthem would be Van Zant’s “These Color Don’t Run” from their latest album, “My Kind Of Country.” This song doesn’t have the history of the other songs I’ve discussed so far, but the first time I heard it, every line was either describing the way I feel or the way I live. Have a look and a listen:

Now you may not agree with my choices, and that’s ok. Leave a comment and tell me your suggestions and maybe I’ll add them to the list. But this is enough for now. Oh, wait, there’s the one that started this discussion, “The Star Spangled Banner” and we can’t skip it! Check out this version by the Cactus Cuties:

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