O Beautiful or Oh Say?


ACCORDING to Parade magazine, which heard from nearly half a million readers, the American people prefer ``American the Beautiful'' over ``The Star Spangled Banner'' as the designated National Anthem, by a ratio of 4 to 1. Back in 1982 LIGHTLY took up the cause of redesignating the National Anthem and received an abundance of letters from readers expressing the same preference in approximately the same ratio.

The intention is not to do away with ``The Star Spangled Banner.'' It would still be played on many occasions.

But ``America the Beautiful'' better suits the changing world and what the United States is really all about.

The reasons behind a newly designated Anthem are compelling. The present Anthem is based on an 18th century English sex and drinking song. The words glorify war, bombs, hatred of the British and says little about America while it describes a battle during the night back in the war of 1812.

``America the Beautiful'' describes America and what it stands for. It indicates America's purpose in the world: stressing freedom and brotherhood.

When Americans face the fact that the average person doesn't know the words of the present anthem and probably can't even sing it (something not true of other national anthems) they'll realize that it is only sort of a chauvinistic prejudice they're clinging to.

And if one has even heard ``America the Beautiful'' sung with a descant, he knows how stirring the song can be.

The music and words of ``America the Beautiful'' are entirely American. The music was written in 1882 by Samuel Ward. The words were written by a discerning woman, Katharine Lee Bates.

How one feels about this patriotic song should be expressed to the US Representative from your district in Congress.

The bill to designate ``America the Beautiful'' as the National Anthem is being introduced by Rep. Andrew Jacobs of Indiana, a former soldier and a combat-disabled veteran.

Congressman Jacobs believes that ``America the Beautiful'' more clearly expresses true patriotism, emphasizing peace, liberty, and brotherhood while still giving credit to America's heroes: ``O beautiful for heroes proved/in liberating strife/Who more than self their country loved/And mercy more than life.''

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