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National anthem in different languages

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    The “Star Spangled Banner” is a big part of the American culture. Just like other national anthems, it is mean to honor the United States and what it has gone through as a nation. It  is very much a part of American history and it deserves to be revered, respected, and valued not simply by Americans but everyone living in America as well.

    The United States is indeed a melting pot. People of various ethnicities and culture make up the America that the world knows today.  Despite the diverse makeup of America today, it does not mean that traditions must be changed. They are what they are, traditions. They must be respected and valued not simply by Caucasian Americans but every American whether, Hispanic or Asian.

    David Montgomery’s article reports the attempt to translate the “Star Spangled Banner” to Spanish. He talks about  altering a long-standing tradition and national heritage. Yes, there are many people living in the United States that cannot speak English let alone sing the anthem. However, this does not mean that the anthem should be translated simply to meet the lack of English skills of people. The nation should not adjust to its people. Instead, it should be the people who should adjust to the nation.

    I find several debatable points that were raised and talked about in Montgomery’s article that attempt to reason why the national anthem was translated. First, the article mentioned a statement given by Juan Carlos Ruiz. He said, “Putting the anthem in Spanish is a way to relay the meaning to people who haven’t learned English yet. It’s part of the process to learn English.” His reason is false. Being a English second learner, I know that learning English is not through translation. In my personal study of the English language, I have seen how learning English is not simply translation.

    Another point in the article said, “America is a pluralistic society, but the anthem is a way that we can express our unity. If that’s done in a different language, that doesn’t seem to me personally to be a bad thing.” This was said by Michael Blakeslee, deputy executive director of the National Association for Music Education. Yes, I agree that America is a diverse society. But even in a diverse society, cultural heritage and traditions should be respected. Hispanics living in America are not asked to sing their national anthem in English. The point is , English is the national language of America and everyone living in the country whether Caucasian, Asia, or Hispanic should learn to respect it. No one should attempt to alter or change any part of it.

    There were also points raised in the article that I agree with. George Taplin was quoted as saying, “We are not a bilingual nation.” I do agree with his statement. America is an English speaking nation. Anyone who wants to live in it must respected and accept such fact. I am not against cultural diversity. However, it is my belief that diversity has boundaries and these should not be crossed by any person or group.

    Another reason why I do not agree with the Spanish translation of the “Star Spangled Banner” is that there is no country in the world that has two versions of their national anthem. Even in countries where there are multiple languages, the national anthem is always sung in the country’s national language.  This is because citizens of that nation believe that they need to honor and respect the traditions of their country whether they are immigrants or not. I do not see why America has to be an exception.

    Finally, the national anthem must be considered as a symbol of solidarity and unity of one people and one nation. Thus, people should learn to honor it and respect it in its original form and version.

    The “Star Spangled Banner” is not your regular pop song. It is a tradition. It is a national and cultural heritage. It must be respected and valued as such. It is not a tool for English learning. In fact, it is beyond the English language. Being Americans, whether natural-born or immigrants, means accepting the “Star Spangled Banner for what it really is and in its original form.

    Every nation, no matter how diverse, should only have one national anthem. There should and must be only one version. If people are to be truly part of the country, they must learn to respect and accept it. It is the duty of every American to learn the “Star Spangled Banner” in its original form. There should be no exceptions or special cases.

    Works Cited

    Montgomery, David. “An Anthem’s Discordant Notes: Spanish Version of Star-Spangled Banner Draws Strong Reactions.” Washington Post. 28 April 2006.

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