The terrifying events on Friday, Nov. 13, in Paris have brought me one consolation: the sight, in photos or videos, of crowds of Parisians singing "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem. Even the crowd at the national stadium after the France-Germany football (soccer) game left singing it.
They knew the words. They had the tune. They could rely on it when they needed it most.
On Sunday, I looked forward to listening to the Chicago Blackhawks-Calgary Flames game. I wondered whether Chicago's great pregame-national-anthem singer, Jim Cornelison, might add "La Marseillaise" to the set of "O Canada" and "The Star-Spangled Banner." No such luck. (Yet?)
But as usual, the crowd was almost silent while Cornelison sang "O Canada" and did its best to drown him out with screams and yells during "The Star-Spangled Banner."
I have followed the Blackhawks for many years, but I will never understand (nor agree with) the custom of drowning out the anthem... especially now.
If Chicago were ever in the same position as Paris, would we have the national anthem at our fingertips as our rallying cry? I doubt it, and the doubt hurts.
The circus will be in town for a while, so here's your chance: When you start watching a game, listen to "The Star-Spangled Banner." Listen or sing along. Then, when you go to the game, sing along louder!
Surely an eruption of applause after the anthem would be spine-tingling enough!
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Filed under: French words in English usage