Thursday, March 18, 2010

O Canada!

Today I had a conference call scheduled with three of my Canadian colleagues, and because it had been postponed, the Outlook reminder didn't pop up and prompt me to get on the call (I'm lost without my Outlook reminders!). So I joined 5 minutes late after they pinged me by e-mail.

When I rang on, one of my colleagues informed me that I'd have to sing the Canadian national anthem as a penalty for being late. I launched into "O Canada," but had to stop after the opening bars...that's about all I know. But I told them that this was probably a great deal more than most Americans would know (especially before the recent Winter Olympics).

Dave mentioned seeing Stephen Colbert's coverage of the Olympics, when he was talking to Canadian Michael Buble and challenged him to sing "Oh Canada" to the tune of the "Star-Spangled Banner."



It's not a great quality video, but it's mildly amusing. Poor Michael! What I like about "O Canada" is that it actually talks about the country instead of "bombs bursting in air" or other bombastic phrases.




Here are the lyrics:

O Canada! Our home, our native land,
True patriot love thou dost in us command.
We see thee rising fair, dear land,
The True North strong and free;
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.

Refrain:
O Canada! O Canada!
O Canada. We stand on guard for thee.

O Canada! Where Pines and Maples grow,
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow.
Thou art the land, O Canada,
From East to Western sea,
The land of hope for all who toil,
The land of liberty.
Refrain

O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies,
May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise;
And so abide, O Canada,
From East to Western sea,
Where e’er thy pines and prairies are,
The True North strong and free.
Refrain

Now compare that to the words of the Star-Spangled Banner, which is really more of a tribute to our flag than to our country:

Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' 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 glass 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! Oh 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 washed out their foul footsteps' 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 loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved 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!

And finally, since we are a British-American household, "God Save the Queen," which is, in fact about the queen--not the United Kingdom:

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen

Not in this land alone
But be God's mercies known
From shore to shore
Lord make the nations see
That men should brothers be
And form one family
The wide world over
From every latent foe
From the assassins blow
God save the Queen
O'er her thine arm extend
For Britain's sake defend
Our mother, prince, and friend
God save the Queen

Pretty amusing, eh? Perhaps the U.S. and the U.K. should consider mixing things up a bit, actually using "My Country Tis of Thee" as an alternative hymn, or "Land of Hope and Glory"?

If you're interested in learning more about national anthems, check out this great list on wikipedia....just check out how many of these songs are actually about the country and not about flags or monarchs!

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