For the greater good of all


An editorial appeared on Saturday the 8th of February entitled “Sung in English.”

The author stated “heard the National Anthem sung at the big game and wondered why not in English.”

I heard it also and it was sung beautifully with clear diction in English by classically trained opera star Renee Fleming. I felt it was a wonderful tribute to our anthem. Were you referring to the singing of “American the Beautiful” in the Coke commercial that aired that night?

Many people seemed to think that is our National Anthem. “America the Beautiful” was sung in: English, Filipino, Spanish, Senegalese-French, (Senegal is a country in West Africa which was ruled by the French), Hebrew, Hindi and Keres (Pueblo, Native American).

Many people were outraged by such an American song being sung in languages other than English, and having a gay couple in the ad also.

Social media was a firestorm of protests and support. I personally find the outrage disturbing on many levels. The men and women who make up this country are from all over the world.

How many of you in this small community remember your grandparents speaking their native tongue at home?

In 2011, American Community Survey found that 21 percent of citizens speak something other than English at home.

Yes, English is the language our founding fathers spoke, it is the language of the Constitution and the government and therefore in order for us to understand each other everyone needs to have a working usage of the English language.

However, singing or speaking in one’s native language does not make one less of an American. To qualify for U.S. citizenship applicants must demonstrate a basic understanding of English, including an ability to read, write and speak the language along with the fundamentals of U.S. history and government.

We are a multicultural county and I think Coke was just expounding on that point.

There are many races, religions and sexually orientations that make America today. Remember in the 1970s when they wanted to “teach the world to sing” with all the different races holding hands? That outraged a few at that time also and the message was peace.

On the Statue of Liberty it reads; “give me your tired, poor and huddle masses, yearning to breathe free,” which makes us a country of many tongues and cultures each needing to bring their best to the table, making us strong and proud.

The song was written by Katharine Bates in 1889 with music by Samuel Ward. Ms. Bates wrote the poem while on a train trip to Colorado. She was a Professor of English at Wellesley College and I find it ironic that she was in a lesbian relationship with Katherine Ward for over 25 years.

Let’s embrace our differences for the greater good of all, and be proud that we have the freedom to sing the following words in any language we choose; “American. America. God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”

Lynne H. Wilson

Iron Mountain