A Moving Rendition of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Goes Viral: Why This is Important To You

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As history tells it, the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events began during the World Series of 1918, when the nation was entrenched in World War I. The New York Times issue of September 6 that year explained it best as, in the seventh-inning stretch of the first game of the series between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs, “the crowd of 10,274 spectators — the smallest that has witnessed the diamond classic in many years — stood up to take their afternoon yawn, that has been the privilege and custom of baseball fans for many generations, the band broke forth to the strains of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’”

From there, the crowd stopped yawning, removed their hats, and the ball players turned to face the band. At first, a small handful began to sing, gazing patriotically at the flag that flew over right field. Then still more began to join in, and by the time the final notes were played, a huge melody from the crowd spread across the field. When it ended, a thunderous applause rose with a cheer that marked an enthusiasm not otherwise felt throughout the game. And the idea caught on. In his history of the song, entitled “Star Spangled Banner, The Unlikely Story of the National Anthem,” Marc Ferris notes that, “Not to be outdone, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee opened each game in Boston with it.” And so the story goes. However, the song wasn’t actually adopted as the national anthem for these great United States until 1931!

Fast forward to present-day, when you’re at a sporting event and the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” begins. In this politically-charged time most of all, the enthusiasm, pride, and honor with which the song is sung or at the very least, paid attention to, has diminished to a great degree. People are tuned into their cell phones, talking, or sipping their beer. All outward appearances indicate a majority of them are simply impatiently waiting until they can cheer the start of a game. Although it’s not a game, the patriotism and moving melody with which the anthem was recently sung (and recorded, thank goodness) by a group of high school students in a wonderfully acoustic hotel was recently posted on Facebook by the Lightning and Storm Viral Videos account, and it’s here for your viewing pleasure!

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