Whether it was at a ballgame or Independence Day event, most Americans experienced our National Anthem being played around the nation this week.
With the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg being commemorated in Adams County, event organizers gave country singer Trace Adkins the honor of singing the Star Spangled Banner at last Monday's opening ceremonies. Adkins didn't disappoint and the multitudes who saw it live or who watched it on C-SPAN were inspired by his rendition.
Known for his charity work and support for foundations, Adkins has been active in outreach projects such as the Animal Rescue Foundation, Project Clean Water, Musicians on Call, Red Cross and the Wounded Warrior Project. His personal story and fund raising skills were on stage during Donald Trump's "All Star Celebrity Apprentice" which aired on network television two months ago. At that time, he chose the Red Cross as his beneficiary since that was the organization that helped him and his family after a devastating fire last year.
The country music field is filled with other big name stars who use their talents and resources to help support charity work, including headliners like Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift and Tug McGraw. These performers recognize they've been blessed with special talents and are giving back to help others.
Just a few days before Adkins sang the National Anthem on the hallowed fields of Gettysburg, Lady Gaga decided to give her amended version of the song to kick off New York City's gay pride celebration. The event was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision which struck down a federal provision that denied benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
With her rainbow flag in hand, Lady Gaga substituted the last stanza of the anthem with the words "O say does that star-spangled flag of pride yet wave," and then ended with "land of the free, and the home for the gay."
Changing the words to the anthem, which was written as a poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812, was disgusting and disrespectful. The response was immediate in the world of social networking.
"Sing our National Anthem correctly or don't sing it at all. Unlike your songs, our Natl. Anthem means something," one person tweeted.
"The National Anthem is sacred and dear to the free and the brave. We should always be proud to sing it (not alter it)," another wrote.
In the space of 72 hours leading to up to one of America's most patriotic holidays, we got to see the best and the worst of what our entertainment field has to offer in Adkins and Lady Gaga. Like every American, they have the right to say what they feel in their songs.
But patriotic Americans also have the right to feel strongly about anyone disrespecting the flag or our National Anthem. Two centuries after the anthem was written, there are social issues that continue to divide us as a nation.
Lady Gaga did nothing to help bridge that gap.
By Jim Zbick