Meridian Star

Local News

September 14, 2006

‘Oh say can you’ sing the national anthem?

State Auditor Phil Bryant spoke to a group of Northeast Elementary School students on Thursday about his favorite song — “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Bryant and other local and state elected officials joined students in celebrating the 192nd anniversary of the anthem by singing it and other patriotic songs. The ceremony was part of a nationwide effort to teach patriotism through music education.

“It’s not being taught at the dinner table and it’s not being sung as often as it should be at public events,” Bryant said. “I think this is a great stand for America. These children will be our future leaders and it is shocking to find out that 60 percent of the children in this nation don’t know the words.”

Northeast’s event, held at Northpark Church of God, was part of The National Anthem Project. The movement began after a national poll revealed that two out of three American adults do not know all the words to the national anthem, and many do not know which song it is or why it was written.

Northeast Elementary has been designated as a National Anthem Project All-Star School. Sharon Pratt, the school’s music director, organized Thursday’s event.

Kaitlyn Kohler, a third-grader at Northeast, was one of seven students who were winners in the school’s National Anthem Project. She is the daughter of Stacey and Karl Kohler.

Kohler said her project, which included patriotic song lyrics flowing over the top of the American flag, also included her personal thoughts on what the national anthem means to her.

“It means freedom,” Kohler said. “It means the home of the free and the home of the brave.”

State Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, also attended Thursday’s event and talked to students about the importance of patriotism.

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