Friday, April 28, 2006

Oh Say, Can You See. . .Let Old Glory Be

Hand in hand, the National Anthem and our Stars and Stripes are symbols of "freedom".

There are over 300 versions of the National anthem. We've heard the anthem sung in many different renditions. Rosanne was vilified, Whitney was praised, Mariah hit the top notes. Many have butchered the song, whether forgetting the words and making them up or even falling astray from the melody. You can call the cats and dogs home with what we've been exposed to.

But today, takes the cake. At 4:00PM PST, many Spanish-language radio stations debuted the song "Nuestro Himno" (Our Anthem) across the waves. The intent of the Spanish version is admirable. It is meant to encourage immigrants to have a better understanding of the English language and to embrace the American culture.

I believe, creator of "Nuestro Himno", Adam Kidron, took "creative license" to the limit. The new version have lyrics that follow the original score, and may carry the jist of what Francis Scott Key envisioned that night of "bombs bursting in air". However, it is not a true translation. It is an interpretation of an individual (and his co-parties) that has used this as a forum to emphasise their position concerning immigration reform. A boycott from work and school by the Latino community is scheduled for Monday as a show of solidarity.

This is most likely the only time, ever, that I will agree with Dubya. To be specific, the National Anthem should, MUST, if you will, be sung in the only language it was meant to be presented, in English. Pres. Bush's push for Congress to accept the "guest worker program" is influenced by the fact that the wife of his younger brother, Jeb Bush, is a "legal immigrant" from Mexico. There is an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Folks, this is a no brainer. Illegal is Illegal. There have been several illegal immigrants from my native Philippines that were deported after many years of hard work and building a life in this "land of opportunity". They were never offered any type of reform or amnesty program.

I am a Naturalized American Citizen via my parents. Although my parents already spoke English before coming to this country, they adopted English as their primary language in order to "prove" themselves worthy of becoming a United States Citizen. My parents studied the American history of how it faught for its freedom. My parents sang the National Anthem, in English. My parents took their oath as a Naturalized American Citizen, in English. My parents experienced the prejudice and biases demonstrated to them by "Americans" as new immigrants to this country. In 1968, shortly after becoming an American Citizen, my father endured the humiliation of a young child asking him where his "tail" was as he was riding on a public bus in Memphis. The parent did not discipline the child. My father chalked it up to ignorance by both parent and child. In this case of ignorance, bliss was not part of the equation. I, myself, have experienced blatant discrimination.

My parents did not learn to work the system. They did not send $$$$$$ of earned monies to their native country. My father proudly served this country in the military for 30 years. My father worked three (3) jobs supporting a wife and 3 young tots when they first immigrated to this country. My parents had a dream to fulfill. I am humbled to share that they were able to achieve all their dreams. They owned a home. They educated 5 children at top universities. They owned a successful business. They travelled the globe. They voted and paid taxes. My father has passed away for several years now, but his patriotism and love for this country was strongly instilled in me and each of my siblings. His philosophy, "When in Rome...", therefore, English was only spoken in our home during our childhood. The American Way was our way of life. We are proud to be Americans. It was only in our adult lives did we include the very nature of our native Filipino culture, the foods, music, customs and traditions. It is part of who we are. Nothing can take that away. That is our heritage.

So, what's all the fuss about? Will this song hit Billboard Chart of top 100? Doubt it. Whatever the agenda for immigration reform, it's out there.

Let's get our priorities straight, shall we? Where are the passioned rallies against the War in Iraq? Send our troops home! What is the progress with Katrina victims? What about protesting or boycotting the outrageous increase in gas prices? What is being done about Congressional and the Bush Administration corruption?

How long are we going to bend over and just take this bureaucratic bull?

I'm done with my ranting. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. Thanks for 1st Amendment.

GOD Bless America . . .Pancit and Lumpia are on the house...


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