Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Did you realize that both the United States of America (July 4, 1776) and Nigeria (October 1, 1960) celebrate their independence from Great Britain? Both countries mark the anniversary with parades, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies. I’m guessing that Nigerians don’t share our tradition of baseball (they much prefer football, or what we call soccer) and shy away from fireworks with loud explosions and smoke (too reminiscent of recent crises).

In my post this time last year, I listed the lyrics for the Nigerian National Anthem. It’s only fair that this year I share the American version. While most Americans at least recognize the words at sporting events with caps and hands over their hearts, very few realize that this is the first of many verses or that the tune is from a popular British drinking song. If they did, perhaps they’d raise their Buds to the good ol’ red, white and blue.

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Click here to watch and listen to Marvin Gaye or Whitney Houston, two African-Americans, sing the anthem.

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