Guards at 9/11 Memorial tell school choir they need a permit to sing the national anthem
So your middle school choir organizes a class trip to New York that includes a visit to the sacred ground of the 9/11 memorial. You stand in awe of what happened that terrible day before you were born and decide it would be appropriate for your choir to sing the national anthem.
But wait! The rules for the 9/11 memorial state that you need a permit to sing a song. So about halfway through singing the anthem, a security guard came up to the choir and told them to cease and desist.
There are lots and lots of other rules that the memorial forces you to follow - more than 4300 pages in all.
By way of comparison, the U.S. Constitution contains about 4,500 words.
The multitude of rules proscribes bags of certain sizes, bans all sports-related activity (and chewing gum, and bathing and gambling) and forces large groups to select a “group leader.” Also, absolutely no flowers to honor anyone who died.
“I hate that our kids didn’t get to finish,” Putnam, the school principal, told WLOS-TV.
“They have angelic voices and I love to hear them sing,” the principal added.
Americas’ damn-hard-to-sing national anthem is never far from the news. In 2015, for example, a parent in the suburbs of Cleveland was kicked out a high school baseball game after he became “absolutely infuriated” by some of these kids today chatting and laughing and generally having too swell of a time during the customary presentation of the national anthem. The mad dad decided to approach the kids and give them his version of the what-for.
In 2014, CNN put a trigger warning before a downright tearjerker story — during the week of Veterans Day — entitled “Sailor mom surprises daughter at school” because the story featured “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Prior to CNN’s presentation of the video, a warning message appeared for several seconds in bold font atop a two-tone black background. “Please be advised you are about to hear an excerpt of the national anthem,” the warning declared.
If you read the debates on what would be included in the memorial, you know that most of the board members believed that the memorial "belonged to the world" and that singling out one country might offend someone.
That someone are the "you know whos."
The memorial has already been almost completely scrubbed of references to Islamic terrorism. So it makes sense to scrub it of patriotic American messages and symbols. The attacks may as well have happened in Timbuktu rather than New York city for all the homage payed to the American heroes and victims of that day.
I know what I am going to do when I visit the memorial the next time I'm in New York city. I'm going to find a copy of that rulebook and burn it. Getting arrested will be worth it.