'National' Anthem Girl' hopes to sing in all 50 states, honor military men and women

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A Los Angles singer is in town today as part of her quest to honor America's heroes by singing the national anthem in all 50 states.

Janine Stange already has crossed 22 states off the list and tonight she'll check off Arizona when she performs "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the Patriot Tour at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix.

Stange has performed the national anthem at hundreds of events over the years, but her current goal -- singing in all 50 states by the 200th anniversary of the "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Sept. 14 -- is special.

"Those of us who haven't served in the Armed Forces can only imagine what a soldier goes through," Stange wrote on her website, NationalAnthemGirl.org. "I count it an honor to sing this song; it never gets old or 'routine' to me."

At each event, Stange has a table set up to give attendees an opportunity to hand write a thank-you card that will go into a care package for a deployed military member or veteran as part of Operation Gratitude.

Inspired by the sight of a massive flag flying over Fort McHenry in Baltimore -- a celebration of a key victory over the British during the war of 1812 -- Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to what would become our national anthem on Sept. 14, 1814.

"Key's words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have invested the flag with their own meanings and memories," reads the Smithsonian website dedicated to "The Star Spangled Banner" and its history. "The flag was no longer just an emblem of the nation; it became a representation of the country’s values and the ideals for which it stands."

Key's lyrics resonate with Stange.

She uses each performance to remind her audience about those who work so hard and give up so much to ensure that the U.S. remains "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

"It's a song that unites us all," Stange said, explaining how she fell in love with the song and what it means. "Ninety seconds -- we're all as one."

Although "The Star-Spangled Banner" is a relatively short song with lyrics that are familiar to almost every American, Key wrote three additional verses that are lesser known.
Click here for full lyrics

The Patriot Tour, which Stange opens tonight at 7 p.m., features Marcus Luttrell, the inspiration for the movie "Lone Survivor." The Mark Wahlberg movie is based on Luttrell's best-selling book, which chronicles a 2005 mission to capture a Taliban leader.

"I'm excited for that," she said of tonight's show.

Stange has booked performances in several more states already. When she completes her tour, she will be first person in history to have performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" in all 50 states.

For more information about Stange or to support her in her journey, check out NationalAnthemGirl.org or follow her on Twitter. She's @TheAnthemGirl.



The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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