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January 09, 2018

How to sing the 'Star Spangled Banner' effectively in public: A guide

Did Donald Trump flub the anthem at Monday night's NCAA title game?

Opinion National Anthem
01092018_Trump_anthem_USAT Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

President Donald Trump sings the national anthem before the 2018 CFP national championship college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Some people are saying it looked like the president of the United States – a man who has turned respecting the flag into his cause célèbre – appeared to forget some of the lyrics to the national anthem at Monday night’s national college football championship game.

Others deemed that reaction fake news and chalked it up to, I don’t know, broadcasting delays or evil TV networks or something.

This will not serve as a roundup of Twitter reactions to a couple moments that can only be described as awkward. Nope. Not this post, comrades. There will be plenty of those.

Instead, this post will serve as a how-to guide when it comes to performing the Star Spangled Banner in public.

In fact, it will be a one-step guide. That's how easy it is!

Step One: Learn the lyrics to the anthem, which you can see below in these embedded tweets from Monday night’s performance in Atlanta. 

If you didn’t memorize them when you were a child – as most Americans did – practice singing in front of a mirror or a small group of friends until you’re comfortable enough to head outside and perform them in public.

It is also important not to make a stink about people kneeling during the anthem and try to publicly shame those whom you think disrespect the nation unless you can perform this song in public.

This should go without saying.


With no further ado, the lyrics to Francis Scott Key's masterpiece. The portions that the president were expected to sing are the 80-some words in the first two stanzas. The rest is for you to prove how 'Merican you are to your friends:

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 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 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!

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