National Anthem Screeching Brings Back WW2 Memories

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.

4 thoughts on “National Anthem Screeching Brings Back WW2 Memories

  1. Ed Lipp

    Ted: The National Anthem is unsingable because most untrained singers don’t have the required range. But what I find annoying is when pop music stars do it solo at sporting events, and here in the Nation’s capital on holidays. They feel they need to put their own spin on it. I think this is a uniquely American custom, and my teeth begin to vibrate when I hear them. Congress can’t seem to agree on anything long enough to enact legislation, but if this ever changes, I think there should be a law requiring it to be sung as written.


    1. Ted Post author

      Ed: Good to hear from you. Just saw your note. My blog is intended as parody with some attempt at seeing both sides of controversial subjects. Of course, the current pop singers couldn’t do it without deliberately destroying the traditional patriotism theme. As I wrote, the woman’s disgraceful attempt reminded me of that tragic 1945 moment when the newly-freed POWs coudn’t hit the high notes for much different reasons. Best, Ted


    2. Ted Post author

      Ed: Thanks for the sailors at the Hum photo, and join you in the sad fact that our ranks are getting thinner. I try to believe that I keep going by posting 3 articles daily online, as well as 2 daily one-hour hikes with my camera. Best wishes and good health to you, your daughters and their families. Ted


      1. Ed Lipp

        You’re doing all the right things, Ted. I visited my cardiologist last week, who told me I would be around for a long time. To guarantee it, I walked out the door with not one, not two, but THREE new appointments for various tests. If you’re a physician, that’s what makes the world go round.


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