Of course, getting the lyrics of our National Anthem wrong is never a good idea. But I think Christina Aguilera can be forgiven when one takes into account the handicap she is struggling with— she is one of those pop singers who doesn’t seem to care what the lyrics of a song are! She (like many others) just wants to impress us with her delivery.
I won’t go into the history of the song (which I would have to crib from Wikipedia anyway) but as most of us know, our anthem is the first stanza of a poem written by Francis Scott Key. He was inspired by the sight of the flag flying over Fort McHenry during the war of 1812. But here is my own interpretation of the lyrics:
O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
Meaning: Can you see our flag? It’s flying over Fort McHenry.
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
Meaning: In the dark, you can still see that it’s there because it is lit by the light of rockets and bombs.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Meaning: Can you tell me if that flag is still flying over our great country?
I’ve always loved the fact that our national anthem is basically a question, rather than a statement. A beautiful and inspiring verse really, but like all songs I think, it only works if you sing it like you mean it.