Baltimore library reminds Christina Aguilera, patrons of anthem's words

After singer flubs lyrics, Pratt Library joins Internet discussion

February 06, 2011|By The Baltimore Sun

Christina Aguilera's mangling of the national anthem at the start of Sunday's Super Bowl set social networks buzzing.

Among those tsk-tsking on Twitter was Baltimore's own Enoch Pratt Free Library, reminding patrons near and far that the correct words to the anthem can be found at a branch near you: "Need to know the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner? Come to the Pratt tomorrow. We'll have it for you plus loads of books about it."

After all, the anthem has a special place in Baltimore's heart: The roots to the song about the 1814 British attack on Fort McHenry were immortalized in the poem by Marylander Francis Scott Key.

Aguilera flubbed the line that's supposed to say, "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming" — she repeated an earlier line of the song with a word variation. Aguilera sang, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming," though even that, too, was slightly awry: The line is supposed to say "hailed" instead of "watched." (She got it right the first time.)

"I hope they can appreciate that the Star-Spangled Banner has its roots here in Baltimore," said Roswell Encina, spokesman for the Pratt who wrote the tweet. He also said he hoped most Baltimoreans knew the words better than Aguilera.

And if not, well, he's hoping they at least will look it up.

To clear up any doubt, here are the full lyrics to the song:

The Star-Spangled Banner

By Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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