In the past few weeks, I've heard the Star Spangled Banner sung more than ever before.

Obviously, it has to do with our expressed resolve to overcome the onslaught of terrorism dealt to our nation on Sept. 11. We are prone to find comfort in song.

The Star Spangled Banner, of course, is our national anthem.

The big problem with that song, however, is that it is so very difficult to sing. Many of us just move our lips in case the cameras catch us. The octave range will send the average person from a low baritone to a cross-eyed high squeal. That one phrase "...o'er the land of the free" right near the end will stretch the vocal chords tighter than a slingshot. Personally, there's not enough room in my shower to get all of that song out.

Now I'm not saying the song isn't pretty. Quite the contrary, I love to hear someone sing it who can hit that high octave without fainting from lack of oxygen. The words are very inspirational, capsulating the spirit of a nation that will not bow to tyrants nor be intimidated by the fools of this world. For those who would tread on our liberties, The Star Spangled Banner might be interpreted as a compilation of feelings which manifest themselves in an incredible determination not to be defeated. Or on a coarser note, it might just be perceived as the growl of the 500-pound gorilla.

I only try to sing the Star Spangled Banner when I'm alone. I don't want anyone to think I'm in distress.

I tried singing it out in the pecan orchard recently and a limb broke out of a tree. But I don't think it had anything to do with me trying to hit "o'er the land of the free." Pecan trees are self-pruning, and I think it was just a matter of coincidence. Whatever, all the crows left.

Our enemies truly should pay heed to a nation whose national anthem is so intimidating. There are more than mere words and notes to this song. A song of this range reflects a potential fierceness that one should not want to awaken. It symbolizes courage, perseverance and certainly the durability and determination to reach deep down inside and far beyond what might be considered the conventional grasp.

We must keep in mind that when Francis Scott Key wrote this song, it was in the midst of battle. And those high notes could very well have paralleled the arch of a mortar. Of course, under fire we might all have reached those higher notes at least once.

Perhaps second to The Star Spangled Banner in recent weeks, we've heard "God Bless America." Now I can sing that one, even with the shower curtain pulled. And some have suggested that this should have been our national anthem so more people could have joined in on the song.

Yes, "God Bless America" is a beautiful song. And in times like these, it is a fitting praise. But when it comes to a national anthem, I personally feel that the Star Spangled Banner is more appropriate because of its inherent qualities that embody the spit and vinegar that has molded us as a nation. Between the lines, it basically says that there comes a time when we must kick butt and take names. You have greatly annoyed that 500-pound gorilla. That's not Ecclesiastical, but it's close.

And it really doesn't matter if only a few of us can hit all those high notes. We can just think them or either stand really close to someone who can. Designated hitters are allowed in this venue.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer. You can call him at 985-4545, ext. 214. E-mail:

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