National anthem no longer reflects intended values

New alternative needed

Colin Canaday

Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2016 by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, controversy has only grown surrounding the use of the national anthem before sporting events. The anthem no longer publicly represents the values that it intends to, and as such, should no longer be played.

Originating at the end of World War I, the national anthem was sung before baseball games in order to recognize those serving in the war. This sentiment holds true today, even in non-wartimes, with the goal of the anthem being to pay respect to veterans and active service members.

However, that is seldom what is actually thought of when the anthem is sung. Sprouting from a host of racist ideals, the anthem, its author and its origins have all rightfully come under scrutiny. Although those are not the ideals that are meant to be displayed when playing the anthem today, those are the ideas that now come to mind.

Education on the history of the anthem is paramount, and where we came from as a country should never be forgotten. But playing an anthem that is predicated on immoral values before every game of every sport is not the solution.

We are a nation that was designed to change with the times, and that is what we should do. Our cultures, ideas and values have changed, and the way we celebrate those should too.”

— Colin Canaday

There are plenty of alternative ways to celebrate veterans and active duty service members. For instance, a moment of silence could be used instead — maintaining the same purpose and time for reflection. We are only confined by ourselves on how we want to celebrate and respect these people; the possibilities are endless.

At a high school level, at least in Minnesota, the national anthem is not even required to be played. Yet, around the country, high schools face criticism for not playing it. Playing the anthem has become so ingrained in culture that anyone who strays or decides they would not like to participate is publicly shunned. While, in an ideal world, students and people are able to make these types of decisions and stand up for what they believe in, however, we do not live in that type of world.

Times have changed since World War I, and for the better. The national anthem and the culture it created are over 100 years old, and are a wonderful representation of history, but that is where they should remain. We are a nation that was designed to change with the times, and that is what we should do. Our cultures, ideas and values have changed, and the way we celebrate those should too.