Wakarusa Elementary School celebrates National Anthem Day in song


September 14th, 1814 is the actual day Francis Scott Key penned the words to The Star Spangled Banner during the war of 1812.

So this week, as family and friends continue to reflect on September 11th, Wakarusa Elementary School is celebrating National Anthem Day.

The celebration started six year ago, after a poll came out saying less than 40-percent of Americans know the words to their National Anthem.

About 540 students filed into Wakarusa Elementary School's gym Friday morning, excited to show friends and family what they have been working on.

“For the last three weeks we have been working towards learning and preparing for this National Anthem Day,” says Wakarusa Elementary School vocal music teacher, Shawn Skaggs.

The school invited those who have served our country to the event so they could be honored as the students sang the National Anthem. But, it’s not just about learning the words, it’s about learning what they mean. In order to do that, the students studied the songs history, poetic language of the lyrics, the correct note values and melody and the proper behaviors to demonstrate whenever it’s sung or played.

“You need to know it because it’s the song of our country and you want to respect it because there are people who have died for us,” says 5th grader Bridget Marks.

“It's a good opportunity to learn all of these songs and get to know the USA better,” says 5th grader Ryne Flickinger.

This is celebration that touched many in a country where some of these songs are no longer taught in schools.

“Last night one of our students called a grandparent or a relative that lived in Syracuse and said, ‘is there any way you can come?’ and he drove all the way here and he said to our principal, ‘thank you, I didn't know people were doing this kind of thing today’,” says Skaggs.

The students sang about six songs in total Friday, making it a very emotional experience for many. They plan on doing this celebration again next year.


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