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Custom The Meaning of the National Anthem Essay

When a person says, “I am belonging to this very country”, “I am an American” or just “My motherland is…”, the question is what he or she really means, and what is behind all these big words, or it is just a habit to repeat about one’s native roots without understanding the idea of all these phrases, which have been mentioned above. It is a pity that the young generation is not familiar with national symbols of the country, due to all these symbolic items make a concentrated source and help to learn history, respect one’s motherland and become a real citizen of the country. It must be in the person’s blood to be extremely accurate and feel respect for the national flag, national emblem, and national anthem. The essay provides a personal opinion and attitude towards the national song – the anthem, and what it means.

The understanding of a particular thing comes from the knowledge about its historical background. The anthem is a vivid recollection of one important moment in the history of the USA. It took place in Baltimore during the war between the United States and Great Britain in 1812. Major Armistead took upon himself the responsibility for defending Fort McHenry, but the only thing he wanted was a flag, which had to identify this place. He wanted to be visible for the enemies. Mary Young Pickersgill was called for help in making that very flag. In August 1813, it was ready. During the battle Francis Scott Key saw the flag, which was flying above Fort McHenry, and that little episode inspired him to write the poem Defence of Fort McHenry. Later that work was set to music and became the most important song for all Americans – “The Star-Spangled Banner”. This song became an official anthem on March 3, 1931. This whole story is extremely important in discussing each particular national symbol, due to it gives the information who, how and under what circumstances created the national American anthem. It is important to know the beginning of the story. The future lyrics of the anthem was made by a soldier during the battle. It is wonderful, and I like the idea that the flag and the anthem are connected with each other, and one “gave birth” to the other. I believe that the USA is a unique country, which can be proud of such historical fact. The flag and the anthem have even the same title “The Star-Spangled Banner”. In some way, this is a symbol of unity and cohesion. This story cannot but inspire everyone who listens to the national American anthem. Knowing the history, a person cannot remain indifferent to the lyrics and can even travelled to the past in his or her thoughts and imagine under what circumstances these great words are written. It is a universal truth: if one does not know the history, he or she will not have the future.

When I got the task to write about the national anthem, I started pondering where it was mostly heard and sung. No doubts that it is heard during the most important holidays, state ceremonies, before sport events and some public gatherings. I want to describe my three different emotional states during listening to “The Star-Spangled Banner”. My emotions depended on particular situations described further.

The first story refers to the times I was a child, when I was with my parents on some ceremony dedicated to honouring the veterans of the Vietnam War. I was such a little kid, that I probably should not have remembered this, but one episode would be in my heart forever. There were lots of people, everything was in national colours, and I was in a beautiful dress. There was some ceremony: a couple of speakers were talking from the platform about the heroism of all those brave men, who fought for the USA. I remember the faces of veterans: they were very concentrated and serious. They were like a mountain – tall, strong and without emotions on their faces, but of course, with the ones inside. This episode is still so memorable to me, due to when the anthem of the United States began to be played, the veteran right next to me, who had a leg injury (he was sitting on the chair and had a crutch), overcame his pain and stood up. I remembered his eyes: he was almost crying and looked like a strong man, who had gone through the War, and absolutely unprotected listening to the national anthem. I was hypnotized watching him, and impressed how the song could change a man in a second. When the anthem finished, he quickly wiped his eyes, like it was a weakness, but for me it was not a foible. On the contrary, that veteran with a crutch and tears became an example of heroism and strength of mind. It was perhaps the first time, when I understood the power of the national anthem.

The second episode happened with me while I was watching the Olympic Games. It is always adorable to look at national sportsmen at any kind of competition. Supporting the country is a very important point in the life of every patriot. I am not an exception and experience a huge pleasure, when some American men or women take the first place. All people can feel the happiness of listening to the national anthem in honour of that sportsman.

The most memorable award ceremony for me was the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, when our famous swimmer Michael Phelps took his eighth golden medal in a single Olympic Games. That day I was with my family, and we were a little bit excited. I remember my mother prepared a wonderful supper for this event. I was very worried about Michael and wanted him to win his new record, and he did it. It was a magnificent evening. When Michael Phelps was on the award ceremony, my family stood up, when the national anthem was played, and the flag was raised up. I was proud of our boy, who is a real champion, of the country, and of the pleasure to hear “The Star-Spangled Banner” and to see Phelps’ happy eyes. During such moments, a person really feels to what country one belongs. It is a pure moment of national identity.

The third episode concerns one of the worst pages of our history – September 11, 2001. There is no sense to describe how the country has suffered. That day will be in the minds of people forever. I was a six year old girl. However, I remember it like it was yesterday. One fact concerning the national anthem impressed me a lot. For the first time in the history of Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth II allowed her troops to play the American national anthem in the Buckingham Palace in honour of all people, who had died on September 11. All Americans standing beyond the palace burst into tears. Many of them put the right hand over the heart and started singing together. It is the greatest expression of love and dedication to the country on this planet.

These three stories represent absolutely different emotions and feelings: pride, happiness, and sorrow, but a common denominator is the national American anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Although emotions are different, all of them concern the national spirit, dedication to the motherland and national identity. At such moments, a person grows up as a citizen and starts to understand the value of the human life, winning at a competition or the tears of old veterans. It is impressive how one song can unite people of one nationality. No matter where a person is, one can be far away, but the symbols of the country are in the one’s heart and soul forever. These are not big words, but it is how it should be, what the parents have taught me, and what I will give to my children in the future. One may not talk about it or show your feelings, but every real patriot feels that amazing feeling in his or her chest listening to the national anthem of America. Until I feel that in my heart, I will be alive. It is what “The Star-Spangled Banner” means to me, no more and no less.

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