Christina Aguilera is sorry, it seems, for the stir caused by her version of the national anthem prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl. As you probably know by now, Aguilera garbled the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, and is taking plenty of heat for it, following in a long line of singers who’ve run afoul of the anthem.
On her website there’s a gracious enough statement explaining that “I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through.”
I personally am inclined to give Christina a pass on this. She is hardly the first American to struggle with the lyrics of the anthem. A national poll a few years ago found that 61% of us couldn’t repeat all the words of the first stanza, let alone the other three.
But I’m not sure I buy Aguilera’s contention that she tried to convey the true spirit of the song.
The Star Spangled Banner is an ode to the valor of American soldiers fighting the British in the war of 1812, the sight of the flag still waving over Fort McHenry testimony to the fact that their sacrifice was not in vain. I don’t know how Christina feels about war and the military, but she sang the anthem Sunday night like it was another item from her concert repertoire, like ‘Genie in a Bottle” or “What a Girl Wants.”
As a poster on her website noted: “You oversang the song way too much and lost the melody. It isn’t about you Christina….it is about the thousands of men and women in the military and honoring them.”
If poor Christina was guilty of letting narcissism get the upper hand on patriotism out of ignorance, well, she’s not the only one who occasionally suffers from that problem. Too often, you’re forced to wonder if everyone in the land of the free truly understands how difficult it was to make us free, and how hard it is to keep us that way.
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