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Friday, November 9, 2012

Thank Heavens The US Presidential Election Is Over

For me, given that I reside in Australia and I am an Australian citizen, which candidate won the US election did not affect me greatly although I have the left leanings of a champagne socialist. What I did pray for was that the elections would be over quickly. I can still remember the heightened suspense of the vote counting between Gore and Bush. It went on for days and the world could not get on with anything until they found a winner.

However, this post is not about left or right leanings, it is about anthems. One thing that America has over most other nations in the world is the wonderful 'Star Spangled Banner' (AKA The Defence Of Fort Henry). The reason I love the Star Spangled Banner is it has relevance to the American ethos. There are themes such as stoicism under pressure, never giving up, fighting for your beliefs and being brave and free. It was about the Americans standing up to the British to have their own identity, to be free of oppression, to stand tall and proud and independent. These are things which we also believe in Australia, but we somehow wound up with Advance Australia Fair..... To exemplify the difference between the two, here are the first stanzas of each:

Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea:
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare,
In history's page let every stage
Advance Australia fair,
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Now let's hear from the Americans.....

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?

Based on these two stanzas, which of the two countries would you be willing to give your life's blood for?

Now let us turn to the famous renditions. Which one do you prefer?

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