I’m not the only one who thought so. But it wasn’t just her excellent rendition. It was the first time in years that I’ve heard the Anthem sung without cynicism and criticism, but instead appreciation for what Francis Scott Key was seeing when he wrote it.
The Proper Respect
As a child, I always stiffened with pride when I heard the Anthem. When it was on TV, I shushed those around me as a teenager and in my early twenties to ensure we showed the proper respect.
And nobody but my father was more enthusiastic when my little sister (now a professional singer and tutor) sang the anthem at local and state sporting events. I would drive to our high school just to hear her sing for two-and-a-half minutes. (Some of the high school students actually timed my sister’s singing, betting on how long she’d take to sing the Anthem. As a point of comparison, Pink took one minute, fifty-three seconds.)
At some point, I stopped appreciating the Anthem. It started when I was in the Army National Guard while working full-time in politics. Watching Washington politicians bail out banks, lie to the public, take show votes, and refuse to stop abortion and our growing debt burned off a lot of my “patriotism.” So did my growing suspicion that many Members of Congress would gladly sacrifice troops — sacrifice me — by sending us into battle to bolster their own political careers.
Add to that how many singers “personalize” the Anthem in ways that butcher it. Suddenly a song that used to bring strong and beautiful images to mind was simple drudgery to listen to.
On Super Bowl Sunday, that changed. I could see the “broad stripes and bright stars” amid “the rocket’s red glare.” I could feel “what so proudly we hail.”
A Phenomenal Voice of America
I found Pink’s rendition beautiful in part because she wasn’t trying to make her mark on the song. She helped the Anthem make its mark on listeners. She didn’t make a political statement. She dressed professionally, and she acted like a professional. It wasn’t about her. It was about our country.
In other words: Her performance gave the nation a phenomenal voice. That’s it. Nothing less, and certainly nothing more, to take away from it all.
Maybe that’s how others felt, as well. There has to be a reason praise for Pink’s rendition is almost universal, even among keyboard warriors on Twitter. With so much of the literal and figurative noise screaming at us for attention, two minutes of high-quality, patriotic music combined with a great voice — despite the flu! — cut through it all. No matter who you were, or what kind of music you listen to, you appreciated our national anthem.
In a year where so many players and celebrities took a knee during the National Anthem, Pink stood tall. And I thank her.
📺: NBC pic.twitter.com/xFqFnizbae
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) February 4, 2018