Colin Kaepernick and Every Marching Band Director in America
There are picture books about the creation of the original poem for younger children, depicting "brave" Key out in the harbor, tearing up as he saw the tattered banner waving. The assumption in all these tales is that "we" are always fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Because--you know--"we" Americans are always on the right side.
I finished every lesson on the SSB by telling students that there are periodically attempts to change the national anthem, for excellent reasons. We would look at other possibilities, from "America the Beautiful" to "This Land is Your Land" (which young students invariably pick as the best replacement, especially knowing that Woody Guthrie encouraged singers to add their own verses). "My Country 'Tis of Thee" was stolen from the Queen (God save her), and has its own set ofdistasteful, violent, jingoistic words. "God Bless America" makes some folks uncomfortable, although it's interesting to consider that when members of Congress gathered on 9/11, they spontaneously sang Irving Berlin's classic, avoiding the bombs bursting in air.
Let the conversations roll.