On An Anthem’s Anniversary – Alliances, Alternatives and Alliteration

(In the interest of full disclosure, the alliteration is only in the title)

On 9/14/14 (that’s 1814 to you!) Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would eventually become the U.S.’s national anthem and secured his place in history as one of the people for whom students have to learn all three names.

I’ve sung the anthem twice at baseball games. I was invited three times, but thanks to a healthy dose of nerves and a crushing unfamiliarity with feedback and echos in stadiums, I’m not sure that what happened the first time qualified as singing. I was glad that I had earplugs that day. I wish the rest of the crowd had them, too.

It’s interesting to me that despite all the things that countries in the world cannot see eye-to-eye on, that for some reason, we’ve all decided that we need a few things: a flag, a song and a passport that looks like everyone else’s.

During the Olympics, you never saw some country walking in with what was clearly a hastily-produced emblem crayoned on cardboard. When athletes take the podium, there’s always a regal piece of music for them and never some Regina Spektor song they’re really into right now.

(This would be my anthem)

(or this)

(okay, fine, or this)

And when everyone went home after the Games, no one pulled out a banged up manilla folder with construction paper stapled to it and called it a government document. Some of these countries don’t even have running water or a uniform sanitation system. How on earth do they have time to find exactly the same sized piece of pleather to emboss? There are municipalities that can’t pay the taxes to free themselves from exploitative relationships with superpowers, where do they find the cash to give to a composer?

Maybe, just maybe, if the population of the globe can come together around these three issues (and also: Antarctica. Seriously? It currently belongs to every continent. Equally. We’re all sharing. No one’s made a war or tried to Christianize its inhabitants or moved there and pretended it was theirs all along), then maybe we have chance at world peace after all.

Seriously, everyone even signed a treaty or something. It’s like the world’s biggest time share.

Or at least a chance at consistent sporting events.


Do you have any favorite anthems? Or songs you think should be anthems. Let us know and leave links in the comments!


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  1. Mormons sent missionaries to Antarctica to convert the penguins but they just looked at them funny and waddled away.

    Good point about the passports being basically the same everywhere. Too bad we can’t do it for other issues.

  2. Antarctica belongs to every continent?

    What does that mean?

    Antarctica *is* a continent.

    Continents don’t belong to other continents, do they?

    I mean, while we share our own continent (just as most continents are shared by sovereign pieces of real estate called countries) ours with the Canadians and Mexicans and fairly amicably these days (rabid hockey fans and drug cartels aside). Far as I know, neither our North American continent as a continent, nor South America, Europe, Asia, Africa or Australia as continents have ever come together or seperately claimed a piece of or agreed to divy up into equal shares… hmmm, that would be, let’s see, a seven way split for seven continents at one share per continent making seven equal shares if Antartica gets a share as a continent, or a six way (six same sized shares) if Antarctica is excluded as the splitee, even though it’s a continent and in faireness as a continent being split up by continents, at least should be entitled to an equal share of itself, have in fact split up Antarctica. As continents.

    Have they?

      1. Uh-huh. But a 49er sized gold strike or oil deposits discovery of Saudi Arabian proportions might witness a sudden unpredicted porcupining of flags intefering with the penguin traffic down there I’m thinkin.

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