Okay so I’m Australian, and decided to look up the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner when I couldn’t make out what they were singing in a movie (The Stand if you must know).

The lyrics I found (on Wikipedia) were:

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ 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! Oh 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 washed out their foul footsteps’ 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 loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved 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!

And a fifth verse that was added for a while "in indignation over the start of the civil war":

When our land is illumined with liberty’s smile,
If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained,
Who their birthright have gained
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.

Now to me it was a little I dunno, odd that there was a lot of imagery about war and violence; until I looked a little into the history of the song and it made a lot more sense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star-Spangled_Banner if you don’t know about it.

So what I’m asking is, do you think that in the near future it would be good to, not completely lose the historical allusions in that song, but to maybe modify it to reflect contemporary American culture? Even if just some of the words and the scale was updated so that your average citizen could remember and sing more than the first couple of lines?

For comparison, this is the national anthem we as Australians officially accepted in 1984 after many years of contests and voting and God Save the Queen. I’m not saying it’s any better or worse, just that this is what we chose, and it has been modified somewhat.


Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

From http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/nat_anthem.html

Which may need to be changed soon if our government decides to restrict immigration into this vast country even more, to "we’ve boundless plains we won’t share". Just saying.
No, I understand the history of the song and everything, I was just wondering whether it should be modified to reflect the 200 years of history since then, or to make it so that more people know the words and understand it. It’s possible to make it more modern and relevant whilst keeping the cultural heritage.

By the way, if Australia changed its national anthem again, this is the song I’d vote for: http://alldownunder.com/oz-u/songs/i-am-australian-17.htm

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