After, the September 11th attacks ten years ago, I decided that it was my responsibility as a singer of our country's national anthem to take a step back and reconsider how I performed the song. At that point, I had been singing the national anthem at events for about 15 years. There was rarely a situation in which I didn't panic about remembering the words to the song or get butterflies before singing.
So I sat down and wrote out the words. I studied the story. And I realized that, while we emphasize the phrase "and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air," the anthem is really about more than the fighting. It's about coming through the battle and surviving. It's about being the side that is STILL STANDING when the smoke clears. It's about perseverance and victory.
In honor of the men and women who served before, during and after 9/11, here's the anthem as I sing it today. The crowd was small but that doesn't change the importance of the moment.