It was patriotic karaoke Tuesday in front of Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium as people sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” — over and over and over. At least they knew the words. Two out of three Americans don’t, according to the National Anthem Project.
The group rolled into town Tuesday as part of a countrywide tour to reteach Americans the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner” with a singing contest, and free cheat sheets to discreetly place in a purse or pocket for emergencies.
The project, funded by the National Association for Music Education, will be there again today, then move to the Phoenix Zoo on Thursday.
One winner from each state will receive $1,000 for his or her school’s music program.
“I probably know the words, if I was singing along with someone,” said Teresa Strahm, an Apache Junction winter visitor, as she walked into the stadium for a Cubs spring training game.
But “I get real upset when people do all these fancy things to the song. “They should just sing it like it’s supposed to be sung and not mess around with it.”
Her friend Sandy Meyer said she knows the words to the national anthem, although she admits it’s a hard song to sing.
“A lot of people can’t sing it,” said Meyer, 68, visiting from Wisconsin. “People should know it because it’s the song of our country.”
Rosalie Michaels of Gilbert, the 2000 Mrs. Arizona America, came out Tuesday to help support the cause. She said everyone needs to know the song to keep up national pride, especially among children.
“Our children need to know what it means to be an American,” said Michaels, 35. “We had to fight hard for it.”