Oh, say can you see banning the National Anthem?
Now that both the United States and Canada have celebrated their respective national summer holidays, there comes news out of Florida of a simmering dispute over their respective national anthems. With the result that both got banned.
Canada celebrated the oddly named Canada Day on July 1 with much playing of "O Canada," the national anthem that became official in 1980 and, this being Canada, has two versions, one in French and one in English. The versions actually have different lyrics, but that's another story.
July 1 each summer is about the time many eager Canadian families up in North America's attic begin laying out the planks for their backyard ice rinks.
The peaceful Canadian holiday that roughly coincides with the start of that country's pro ...
... football season marks the hasty 1867 formation of a separate Canada by a Britain that lost its Civil War bet on the Confederacy. Then, it watched the United States buy Alaska from Russia and figured the disgruntled Yanks might try a grab for the British colony in between.
Canada Day comes just three days before the American July 4th holiday that marks another one of those rowdy American moments that mixes alcohol and explosives, celebrating the Declaration of Independence and the violent ensuing and elongated break with Britain and its goofy fat king.
OK, back to Florida, which neighboring (or neighbouring) Canadians believe they have a birthright to visit anytime. Especially in winter. You can easily spot Canadians anywhere because they're always putting "eh?" at the end of declaratory sentences to make a question seeking friendly affirmation from listeners. And Canadians are the folks making awful faces when they sip the lame stuff Americans call beer.
Americans are generally gentle with the visitors, even letting them watch the hockey playoffs on the bar TVs. And no one is yet demanding the Obama administration get off the golf course and get busy building a fence along the world's longest undefended border between the two countries.
In Florida's Sarasota County, our news colleagues at Sun-Sentinel.com report, there's an array of trailers named La Casa Mobile Home Park. Almost 10% of the people occupying the 900 trailers are Canadian, eh?
When the community has events like dances or other affairs with musicians, it has become customary to close the evening by playing the "Star Spangled Banner" and, sometimes in deference to the funny-talking Canadians, "O Canada."
However, in the interests of equal opportunity xenophobia, it seems a number of La Casa's American residents have now complained to authorities about playing the Canadian song on U.S. soil.
As a result, the community's Activity Board has just announced a new end-of-evening music policy: No more national anthems for any country.
Instead, as a crude compromise the musicians have now been instructed to play "God Bless America."
Now, some might say, "Huh?" eh?
The board's thinking is that since both the United States and the much larger Canada are part of America, as in North America, no one will be offended. Hopefully.
Also, hopefully, by evening's end no one will be in shape to try singing the Irving Berlin lyrics because they'd have to alter the words a little:
God bless America, Land(s) that I we love,
Stand beside her them and guide her them Through the night with a light from above;
Of course, Mexico is also generally considered part of North America. But that's another story.
Speaking of the Star Spangled Banner, check out this music video
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photos: Agra; CBS (notorious Canadian good guys Sgt. Preston and Yukon King).