Big discussion going on about singer Fergie performing the song at the recent NBA All-Star Game. To her many fans, it was her just being the creative Fergie. To traditional music lovers and strict patriots, it was high treason.
My National Anthem memories go back to 1945, when WW2 ended. Just before my 20th birthday in August, two atomic bombs caused the Japanese to surrender. My ship, a Navy attack transport, was ordered to proceed from its berth in the Philippines to Shanghai.
We were to pick up freed American prisoners of war and bring them back to the Philippines for medical treatment, followed by air and ship passage home to America. When we approached the Shanghai docks, we could see they were cheering and waving. We brought several hundred to bunk in our troop compartments.
They were all in rags and painfully thin as a result of the cruel Japanese treatment during their years of captivity. After showers and new clothes, as they lined up on deck for their first Navy meal, some began to sing.
First, it was the National Anthem, but their weak physical conditions and dry throats couldn’t hit the high notes. Then some of my shipmates started singing “God Bless America”, and all the POWs joined in with the more melodic song. Maybe that’s what Fergie should have done.