National Anthem Day Celebrations on September 14 Carried Music Education's Message Across United States

MENC sponsors National Anthem Day each year and urges music educators and others to celebrate with school observances on September 14, the anniversary of the penning of the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Schools responded with celebrations of all types. Some were large, some were small. All were inspiring.

Teacher Susan Rudnicki’s students celebrated National Anthem Day
at Barton Elementary School in Patchogue, New York by learning about
the history of the anthem, reading all verses of the text, and singing.

In Sultana, California, teacher Mary Pauls led Monson-Sultana School
in their 5th National Anthem Day event. The 6-8th graders led the student
body in the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and afterward, the
students gathered outside to form the letters “USA” on the blacktop.
Aerial photo by Regier Aviation.

This year Shannon Glenn, music teacher at Chipeta Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was among the music educators nationwide who created a National Anthem Day celebration.

Glenn said, “In conjunction with our school district’s Constitution Day, [our school] celebrated National Anthem Day and created a living flag on our front driveway.” (See the second thumbnail photo below.)

She said the flag “included all students from pre-school to fifth grade, all staff, all volunteers and any parents who wished to join us. We were over 500 bodies strong.”

An MENC member, Glenn also told a local television station that covered her event, “It makes [students] feel a part of something bigger, it makes them a part of the community, not just their own family and not just their own school, but our city and our state and our nation.”
Observances like these present an opportunity to educate students about the national anthem and to demonstrate to the community the important role music teachers play in passing on America’s cultural heritage.

Sumter (South Carolina) School District Two Celebrated National Anthem Day in Grand Style

Another large National Anthem Day celebration took place in Sumter, South Carolina. Linda Beck, the choral director at Furman Middle School in Sumter, shared details of the National Anthem Day Celebration she helped orchestrate. (See thumbnail photo 7 below.) 


“What a grand celebration Sumter School District Two had on Sept. 14, 2009 for National Anthem Day! We had 400 students from our district, grades 5-12 singing “A Salute to the Armed Forces” and ended our event with both high school ROTC’s presenting the colors as we sang “The Star- Spangled Banner.”

“Deborah Horton, choral director at Crestwood High, conducted. She is an incredible conductor! Two television stations, WIS and WLTX, covered the event as well as the ITEM, Sumter’s newspaper. Our audience was the biggest this year. Mayor Joe McElveen made the City Proclamation and Vivian Fleming McGhaney made the County Proclamation proclaiming September 14 as National Anthem Day in Sumter, SC.

“This was the first year that we included the 5th grade. What a great recruitment opportunity! You should have seen their eyes when all 400 voices (especially hearing the middle and high schools singing the harmony parts of “The Star- Spangled Banner.” What a thrill to the students as well as the teachers!

“Our school board chairman gave the welcome. My Mom drove from North Carolina, as she does each year (even though she has a 2 strokes) to support this project and this year gave the Invocation.

“We had many veterans in the audience. Brig. Gen. Richard A. Shook Jr., Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Olsen spoke, as did Maj. Gen. Joseph S. Bleymaier, all from Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter. These men have been all over the world serving our country. Their speeches brought tears to many.

“We also received a letter from MENC President Barbra Greer, which was addressed to the students of Sumter School District Two. It was greeted with much applause!
“Thank you for all that you do for musicians, teachers and our students!” — Linda Beck, Sumter National Anthem Coordinator

Click on the thumbnails below to view more photos and stories from MENC’s National Anthem Day celebrations.

The MENC National Anthem Day Map lists schools throughout the United States that participated.

Roz Fehr, October 29, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education