A short review of something I sang recently

By mieladmin / On / In ASROSICR

Arlene Kim:

It’s been a long time since I’ve sung a national anthem in a big crowd—possibly even a couple decades. Not being a follower of sports, I don’t go to many games, and there aren’t a lot of other events that involve the singing of anthems—which is too bad really because it’s sort of spectacular to sing something along with thousands of others. That’s exactly what I did just a few days ago in London. My husband and I were visiting with his parents there, and they took us to my first football match (soccer, to my fellow Americans) at Wembley Stadium, an international friendly between England and the Republic of Ireland.  I wanted to feel like a true fan, so in addition to brushing up on a few football facts, donning red for England, and drinking my share of beer, I looked up the British National Anthem and memorized the words to “God Save the Queen.” I’d forgotten that it’s the same tune I learned years ago in grade school—Americans will recognize it as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” I hadn’t thought about those classroom days for I don’t know how long—it seemed like we were always singing something together in big groups then, our chorus of chirping wobbly but gleeful and loud. That was before we all grew up and broke off into our own private orbits, told to be unique, to stand out, to be an original, to be different from everyone else. (If you grew up to be a writer, you got double and treble doses of that message). But Wednesday night at Wembley, I rebelled. I was merely one of so many and many, all dressed alike, all sitting in the same section, all with the same hopes for the next 90 minutes, all singing along to the same tune. It was marvelous to be so invisible and yet still feel accepted and embraced, to feel that I belonged.


The video of the singing crowd at Wembley isn’t from the night I went—I was too caught up in the moment then to think of recording—but I wanted to give you a sense of what it was like.

Only the first verse of “God Save the Queen” is usually sung (though several times throughout the game). But, I love the bit in the second verse about confounding politics and frustrating knavish tricks!

It’s interesting that on the official website of the British Monarchy, they don’t include that second verse.

I have been known to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” (the national anthem of the United States) at full volume while driving by myself at night. I always wondered why I liked to do that. It’s only now that I think maybe it’s because it helped me feel not so alone even while I was enjoying being alone.