When Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would later become the U.S. national anthem, he depicted what he saw during a British bomb raid on a fort in Maryland amid the War of 1812. Some believe that we should change the lyrics to reflect less problematic ideologies.
But what he wrote is not outrageous enough to warrant changes to the lyrics or to re-evaluate the historical significance because of any racist connotations.
Key captured the details of an important war from his own perspective, which is part of early U.S. history.
Part of the national anthem’s third verse is “no refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.” Often, this is viewed as a dig at the slaves who left to fight on the British side for their promised freedom. This verse is not sung today. The only verse that is ever noticed by anybody is the first verse. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as sung today, is not racist.
The national anthem is a way for people to pay respect to the courageous individuals who fought for the country.
Some would still say that the national anthem should be updated to deter the implication of racism and to accommodate modern beliefs. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a historical piece that signifies an important and revolutionary piece of U.S. history, and it should not be changed under any circumstances.
The United States set the blueprint to fight for freedom and independence, which inspired other groups and countries to fight for something they believe in.
There is no need to change or update the national anthem — it sends a message of patriotism and individualism, even if certain groups were left out or had their rights violated historically. A torch was set for all citizens to fight for freedom.
Another reason to not change the anthem is because it would not be feasible. The change would create a debate of what should and should not be included. It would be a difficult task to create or update the national anthem in a way that the whole country could agree on. The United States can come to a consensus that “The Star-Spangled Banner” holds immense historical significance and therefore should remain unaltered.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” does not only account for U.S. history. As a song, it has its own history as well. The song has been sung countless times throughout the country’s nearly 250-year-old history. Taking away the anthem would be a sign of disrespect to the men and women who fought so hard for our country to be what it is today.