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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Star Spanglish Banner

A descendant of Francis Scott Key is outraged that "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been translated into Spanish.

The original author's great-great grandson, Charles Key, finds the Spanish version unpatriotic and is adamant that it should be sung only in English.

"I think it's a despicable thing that someone is going into our society from another country and … changing our national anthem," Key said. [Link]
No word on what he thinks of the 1919 Spanish-language version of the song commissioned by the U.S. Bureau of Education and translated by a man named Francis Haffkine Snow. Sheet music for "La bandera de las estrellas" may be seen on the Library of Congress website.

It continues to baffle me why reporters seek out the opinions of people descended from notable persons. Matthew Chapman may be a very smart man, but can he really speak for his great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin? Is Charles Key better equipped to decide this contentious issue than any other Key descendant, or, say, me? And can't we all agree that "America the Beautiful" is a far better song?

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