1000 Students Sing National Anthem at US Capitol

New Survey Finds Americans Overwhelmingly Support Teaching National Anthem in Schools and Agree Music Education Impacts Success in Other Subjects

On June 13, 2008, as the nation recognized Flag Day, more than 1,000 school children from across the country sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial near the U.S. Capitol building. They were joined by Members of Congress, the Cactus Cuties and the United States Marine Band. The event kicked off a weekend of performances celebrating the national anthem and the importance of music education.

Created by MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the “National Anthem Project: Restoring America’s Voice” is celebrating a national education initiative to re-teach Americans “The Star-Spangled Banner” after a Harris Interactive Survey showed that two out of three Americans don’t know the words to the national anthem.

In the era of “No Child Left Behind,” access to music education has decreased 20%. “With cut backs in music education, our children no longer are learning the music of their heritage,” said Barbara Geer, a choral director and president-elect of MENC. “As America grows more diverse, learning the music of our history and our country is an important way to bind us all together as Americans. We’re hoping events like today’s bring attention not only to the national anthem, but to music education in our schools nationwide.”

A June survey conducted by Harris Interactive for MENC shows knowledge of the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner” up slightly from 2004 when the survey was last taken.

Americans overwhelmingly support the teaching of the national anthem in our schools. Eighty-five (85%) percent feel “The Star-Spangled Banner” should be taught in schools with two-thirds (67%) saying they feel strongly about it.

For event and survey details, visit The National Anthem Project.

Elizabeth Lasko, June 13, 2008. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education