Liam Day explains why, although he’s not a huge fan of the national anthem, it was appropriate and moving at the Boston Bruins game.
I will admit I never cared for our national anthem. It is a difficult song to sing. As the character Belize notes of the anthem’s writer, Francis Scott Key, in Angels In America, “He set the word ‘free’ to a note so high nobody can reach it.”
I will also admit that I never understood why we insist on playing the national anthem before athletic contests. I’ve always been somewhat uneasy about the marriage of nationalism with athletic pursuit. More so now that, as so many pre-game ceremonies involve honor guards and flyovers by fighter jets, patriotism comes tinged with a fair dollop of militarism.
All of that being said, though, I was deeply moved by the performance of the national anthem at last night’s game between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres. In the first athletic contest held in the city since Monday’s bombings, with swarms of police and national guard patrolling the Garden and the streets around it, the 17,565 people in attendance found solace and relief in singing the Star-Spangled Banner together, urged on by Rene Rancourt, who has performed the Canadian and American national anthems at Bruins’ games for 35 years.
You can see it here. The anthem begins at 2:55. However, the entire video is worth watching.