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The US National Anthem

There is not much enthusiasm for the decision of make "The Star-Spangled Banner" the US national anthem. John Wonder writes: "When I was a child, and up until the time of WWII, the national anthem we used to sing began "My Country 'Tis of Thee...", sung to the same tune as the British national anthem. In fact, when my wife taught school, it was the children's favorite, and the SSB was disliked for its difficult vocal range".

Edith Coliver, who came to San Francisco as a refugee from Nazi Germany and became an Asian specialist, writes: "My impression about our national anthem is that it's very hard to sing. There is not one student in the Philippines, as against our students here, who doesn't know the National Anthem. It had to be sung in Filipino schools every morning during the American occupation. [The Philippines now has its own national anthem RH] America the Beautiful is much easier to sing and to digest. When I arrived in the U.S. in 1938 I brought along my accordion. The customs inspector who had come to our ship (pier #39, and I now live across from Pier 27) doubted that I had brought my accordion for the pleasure of it. He accused me of wanting to sell it and of shirking customs. I told him it was mine, and he said: "Prove it." So I played "America the Beautiful," and the customs man as well as the 38 relatives waiting for my family and me at the pier, all cried. A good cry was had by all. I kept that accordion for fifty five years until I had to junk it in Taiwan because the tropical climate in Taiwan and the Philippines had made it mouldy".

Ronald Hilton - 9/14/01