Following, are the words to the song we in America know as our national anthem; as you read through the verses take note of the general tone and the themes…

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ 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?

It’s actually a much longer song but the rest is superfluous to the point of this piece (though very similar in tone to the first, ubiquitous, verse).

Now, read through the lyrics of a song known as America the Beautiful; and as you do, take note of the differences between the two songs, especially between the focus and tone of each of the songs.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

I’m not going to take any time to break down the differences between the lyrics of song #1 and song #2; I don’t think I have to. The differences are blatant.

If you grew up in America these are songs that you grew up hearing — and are still exposed to — countless times. I never liked the national anthem, even as a child. It spoke to me of bloodshed and war. When I was very young, it actually frightened me. From what I knew of the world, pretty much any horrible thing could happen… and then, apparently, you sing about it.

The requirement that people placed their right hands over their hearts and stood as they sang, as if, by their God, they really, really meant every syllable of it, offended me so much that I went on strike against it, beginning when I was probably in about junior high school. Oh, I would stand and appear to go through the motions — I had learned how to be invisible — but not a word would come out of my mouth, not ever. Still doesn’t. As a child, my life was already scary enough without what seemed like literally asking for more and liking it. I wasn’t having it.

When I grew older, I came to wonder if the singing of the national anthem at every large gathering and event was actually a good idea, as it seemed horrible to me that ever since I’d been a child I’d been required to commit in song to murder and/or to being murdered and that either of the aforementioned was supposed to be some glorious honor.

Somewhere along the line, I had also been exposed to America the Beautiful. That song resonated with me, heart and soul, immediately. It was a song that celebrated the land on which I lived, the trees that were my friends, the earth that supported my life — all of our lives — and as if that were not enough, the song was also exquisitely beautiful. In addition, I wondered further why America the Beautiful had not been the song that Americans were required to sing at special events. A far better choice, it seemed to me.

As time went on and I grew older still, I began to speculate that the national anthem, supposedly penned while under fire or close to it, was the government’s subversive form of indoctrination, begun in childhood, and meant to subtly, over time, gear citizens not just to accepting and supporting but actually participating in gloriously in killing and/or being killed in the name of their “country.”

It seemed possible… it still does.

I reflect now on what a different place the so-called United States might be and how different the people living here might be if they had been raised singing America the Beautiful at every public gathering instead of having been required to give voice to the national anthem and a celebration — in the name of remembrance — of violence. It seems to me that such sweet indoctrination as America the Beautiful offers might have created very different citizens and perhaps even very different relationships between them.

PS: I have to confess that I am not overly fond of the mention of a conceptualized deity in America the Beautiful but it’s still a way better approach overall.

This additional link is for an AlterNet article, 8.23.17 and details the history of the (still) current anthem of the so-called “united” states: http://www.alternet.org/another-neo-confederate-memorial-star-spangled-banner?akid=16006.2658084.Qbo9y9&rd=1&src=newsletter1081455&t= 7

Astrology-Informed Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor