Wednesday Wars: O, Canada vs. O, Say

I’m scratching my originally planned Wednesday Wars. The one I wrote back in December. Definitely on my A-game this year with all my blogging. No need to applaud.


The topic I originally thought was “hot” for today, can wait. Because something much more interesting has been brought to my attention.

Back-to-back I heard two songs sung. By two different musicians/singers. It wasn’t the first time that I’ve heard them sung back-to-back. And it won’t be the last. But it certainly struck me this time around. More so than the other times. Because I’m here, writing about it. Wondering about it.

The All Star game in Raleigh, N.C.

Sunday night.

Boys and men showed their respect and stood silently still along blue lines.

A red carpet was rolled out. A group performed. An idol sang.

And I watched as side one and side two fought.

Side one: O, Canada

They’ve got it going on. Every game I’ve watched – this year and in years past – those Canadian’s have their anthem perfected.

Harmonies and melodies are always tight and right. Players and fans go into silent night mode. Because the song sounds good. It sounds reverent. The English-French voices are always strong and true. Hitting notes perfectly and nailing words wonderfully.

Rarely are there squeaks and squeals. Rarely are there glitches and gaffs.

Because those Canadian’s, no matter the province, always sing beautifully. Their performance is always well-received and rarely, if ever, criticized by the press and public.

Side two: O, Say

What do I see? Mediocre celebrities butchering our anthem – messing up the words and melody.

Where are the big guns? The voices that will once again catapult O, Say to its rightful spot.

Sometimes a celeb nails it. But most of the time they try too hard. They try to make it more than it is. Their jazzed-up version does nothing but distract from the beauty of the song. The power of the words.

Don’t get me wrong, it still moves me. I still get chills. I remember the people fighting for our anthem – especially my cousin – and it taps at my heart. But I cringe, whether watching a game live or televised, whenever someone steps up to the microphone and opens their mouth. Because I’m afraid it’s going to go horribly wrong. I’m afraid they’re going to sound terrible.

But mainly I fear that in the singing of two beautiful national anthems, O, Canada will stand on guard and O, Say will not make it to dawn’s early light.

O, Canada or O, Say – whatever one you hold near to your heart – sing it with pride.


I ask. You answer.

  1. Which anthem do you prefer hearing? Not based on your country of choice – but the performance of the song…
  2. Is it bad that O, Canada has been stuck in my head since Sunday night’s All Star game?!?!

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