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Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera and Roseanne Barr: National Anthems Past, Present and Future

There was a lot of outrage over Christina Aguilera botching the National Anthem at the Superbowl. I can see both sides. On the one hand, slip-ups happen, even to the most polished performer. On the other hand, this is probably the biggest performance of an entertainer's life. They are professionals and they were chosen on the basis of their star power and the fact that they have beautiful voices. They are expected to rise to the occasion.

A few years ago, someone asked a group of people to tell her which song affects them emotionally every time they hear it. The overwhelming response from both civilians and members of the military community was the National Anthem. Before I became a military spouse, I fully respected the lyrics of the anthem as well as the events which inspired those precious words. But falling in love with a soldier definitely stirred something inside of me that I hadn't previously felt. I feel a lump in my throat and tears well up in my eyes each and every time I hear the National Anthem.

Over the years, I've seen some performers tweak the anthem a bit too much for my taste. We know you have impressive pipes, otherwise you wouldn't be selected to perform at the most watched event of the year. Save the theatrics for the Grammy Awards or your concerts. Just give us the National Anthem. Straight up. No frills. Allow the message to outshine the messenger.

There are times when our National Anthem has the ability to grip the nation and remind us that for all our differences, when we're tested as a nation, we are united. We think of the blood, sweat and tears shed by so many throughout our history and we're reminded that more will surely come. We think of those who are fighting for our freedom. Those who are protecting the defenseless. One such performance came from Whitney Houston during the Gulf War. For me, this is hard to top:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1QmeEdFOSc[/youtube]

And here's a sample of some Best and Worst renditions:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLeub24TioI&feature=related[/youtube]

Whomever booked Roseanne Barr for this irreverent, disgraceful performance should have been fired: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls1YVhcLD2c&feature=related[/youtube]

Something tells me that future generations will always respect the spirit and meaning of these lyrics. Let's just hope performers will, too.

Oh, 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, thru 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

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