Some Americans call for replacement of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with new national anthem

National

UNITED STATES (WJW) — Some Americans are calling for a new national anthem amid the nationwide trend of removing monuments, statues and other symbols that have ties to slavery. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry” on September 14, 1814 when he saw the US flag flying over the fort at dawn’s early light, according to the Smithsonian Institute,

This poem later served as the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which became the official national anthem of the US in 1931. However, citizens are now asking for a new national anthem because of Key’s ties to slavery.

The Smithsonian reports that Key was a slave owner and defended slave owners’ rights to own human property. A change.org petition was recently created to change the national anthem to “America the Beautiful.” The petition alleges that not only did Key own slaves but also that the song itself “contains racism, elitism and even sexism embedded in its third and fourth stanzas.”

Petition creators also argue the song is focused on victory and military strength and does not exemplify the American values of brotherhood, national unity and patriotism. They also cite references of inequality among men and women.

Those encouraging the change also argue that “America the Beautiful” is not only timeless but also “expresses and celebrates the highest of all ideals – i.e. brotherhood within our borders, deference to our natural resources. and indirectly alludes to the safeguarding and conservation of our air, water, and land. And in its later stanzas it also clarifies just laws, heroism and patriotism.”

Several twitter users have responded to the petition, some in opposition, others suggesting other patriotic songs that they believe could make for a good anthem.

The petition was created just days after protesters in San Francisco toppled a statue of Key during demonstrations against racial injustice.

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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