Politics

FACT CHECK: U.S. Government Commissioned Spanish-Language ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ in 1919

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    The right wing is up in arms over a new version of the Star-Spangled Banner written in Spanish. Last week President Bush stated that “the national anthem ought to be sung in English.” Yesterday Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a resolution requiring the Star-Spangled banner to be sung only in English:

    That flag and that song are a part of our history and our national identity. … That’s why in 1931 Congress declared the Star-Spangled Banner our national anthem. That’s why we should always sing it in our common language, English.

    In his press release, Alexander said the Star-Spangled Banner has “never before…been rendered in another language.”

    But in 1919, the U.S. Bureau of Education commissioned a Spanish-language version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The State Department’s website also features four-separate versions of the anthem in Spanish.

    It appears xenophobia isn’t part of the American tradition.