June 19, 2010

National Symbols (Again)

Submissions to the Studio 360Redesign July 4th Challenge” are due by midnight tomorrow. (See my earlier post on the subject here.) After a few frantic days of work, I submitted a proposed replacement for the National Anthem this afternoon. I call my new anthem “Out of Many, One.” In crafting a new anthem, I had several design objectives and constraints in mind:
  1. The text should not be about war or the flag.
  2. The text should not invoke God. (We are a secular nation.)
  3. The text should be primarily about what is unique about our country—our people and our form of government, not our landscape.
  4. The text should be in familiar language.
  5. The text should actually name the country whose anthem it is.
  6. The tune should be singable by normal people.
  7. The tune should be stirring, probably in 2/4 or 4/4 time.
  8. The tune should sound like a national anthem, not like a pop song or aria.
My entry pretty much satisfies these criteria, though it is probably weakest with respect to (5). You can see my entry here. Other entries used to be on YouTube but eventually disappeard. I am indebted to Doug Starr, the organist and choirmaster at my church, who arranged my tune and played the organ for my less than stellar performance. Comments (on my anthem, not my performance—I don’t claim to be a vocal soloist)? The winner will be announced on the July 4th weekend. As best as I can tell, there are no prizes other than a mention on the radio.


  1. After the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, the citizens filled the streets singing Le Marsellaise and Yankee Doodle. Both probably are disqualified by your criteria, the first for its bloodthirsty glorification of war, the second for its flip attitude toward national heroes.

  2. Of course, we’re unlikely to adopt “Yankee Doodle” as our national anthem, and we surely are not going to adopt “La Marseillaise,” which is France’s anthem.

    “Yankee Doodle” does seem to come up frequently in anthem discussions. It is a song that does seem to get Americans excited. Its meaning is obscure, however—Wikipedia is helpful here—and it is, shall we say, irreverent. It functions somewhat like “Waltzing Mathilda” in Australia. That is, it is strongly associated with the country but is not the national anthem. Australia’s official anthem, “Advance Australia Fair” is widely viewed as colorless, unlike “The Star-spangled Banner.”

    Anyway, I can imagine “Waltzing Mathilda” as Australia’s anthem, but we take ourselves too seriously to adopt “Yankee Doodle” as ours.

  3. It sounds nice, Lionel. I I am not American, so, I don't know what Americans think about this kind of events. Here in Portugal if a radio had done such kind of think, It has been severely criticised in the society!...

    Well... But, if you did this song with your children parish choir, probably your chances to be the winner would be greater than with this one... But Well, I don't know if you have time to do it... Who knows!!!... Good Evening!...

  4. LD - it passed the 'tears in my eyes' test! well done.

  5. I think all your propositiona are worth attention. customessay-s is a good opportunity to make your words be heard


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