Happy Memorial Day—What is Patriotism to You?

sr-sunshots-frozentime-0131p1The sacrifice and heroism of America’s soldiers is remembered today—Memorial Day. And patriotic song, including “The Star-Spangled Banner,” has and will be part of this day of somber reflection and fun-filled celebration. In fact, in many ways it is the sacrifice of the nation’s fighting men and women that has sanctified music as patriotic. Key’s Banner honors the courage and fortitude of the defenders of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, but it was the subsequent use of the song in the Mexican-American War (1846–48), Civil War (1861–64), Spanish-American War (1898), and finally World War One (1917–18 for the U.S.) that increasingly linked song to flag and country, and burned the emotional resonance of the tune into cultural memory making “The Star-Spangled Banner” the only possible choice as the nation’s anthem in 1931.

Yet patriotism means many things to many people and we’d love to know what it means for you. What thoughts come to your mind on Memorial Day? What does “The Star-Spangled Banner” mean to you? Please comment below…

About starspangledmusic

StarSpangledMusic.Org is a project of the not-for-profit Star Spangled Music Foundation. It is administered by Professor Mark Clague (University of Michigan) and Dr. Susan Key, a musicologist of American music who resides in California.
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