Spanish National Anthem Translation: Nuestro Himno

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There is a lot of controversy over a new Spanish version of the National Anthem. Considering that there are no less than four different versions of a Spanish language anthem on the State Department’s website, it seems contrived for some people to try to exploit the creation of a fifth as political issue.

Nor is the English anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, all that memorable or enobling. Americans stumble through the first verse, almost always wildly off key, and I would bet good money that at least 90% of folks can’t accurately recite the second verse at all.

While I hate the vocal style of the fellow who sings the new version (I can’t stand that overly-contrived warbling that record labels seem to think is skillful pop singing these days), I think the new version conveys more clearly the ideals of American life in the post-Civil Rights Movement era than the original while retaining its central iconography.

It won’t be long until Bush will be bitten in the backside by his opportunistic, cynical, and self-contradictory statement against the singing of the athem in Spanish. He’s done so personally when campaigning, and we should embrace and encourage the genuine patriotism and devotion to the American Dream of every singer of our national anthem, whatever language they use. Finally, I think that Nuestro Himno expresses an even greater reverence for our flag than does the Star Spangled Banner; Nuestro Himno refers to the flag as ‘la bandera sagrada,’ or the sacred flag. This is hardly the language of anyone who is trying to denigrate our national symbol, nor undermine American identity.

The debate that this issue has inspired is generally productive, and will ultimately highlight the depth of our nation’s diversity and the great strength it provides us.

‘Nuestro Himno’ in English

It’s arising, do you see it?
By the light of the dawn
What we so acclaimed
at nightfall
Its stars, its stripes
flew yesterday
In the fierce battle
in a sign of victory
The glow of battle
in step with liberty
By night they said:
“It’s being defended!”
Oh, say! Does the starry
beauty of the sacred flag
Still wave above
the land of the free?

Its stars, its stripes, liberty
we are equals,
We are brothers,
it’s our anthem
In the fierce battle
in a sign of victory
The glow of battle
(My people keep fighting)
In step with liberty
(It’s time to break
the chains)
By night they said:
“It’s being defended!”
Oh, say! Does the starry
beauty of the sacred flag
Still wave above
the land of the free?

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