Bush: Sing National Anthem In English

Hip hop star Pitbull, gestures as he sings on a track while recording a Spanish-language version of the U.S. national anthem, Wednesday, April 26, 2006 in Miami. The recording, dubbed "Nuestro Himno," which means "Our Anthem" in English, is set to "rhythmic Latin musical arrangement" but respects the song's traditional structure, said Adam Kidron, who heads the record label Urban Box Office. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

A Spanish-language version of the "Star-Spangled Banner?"

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English," President Bush told reporters Friday, "and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English," he said.

British music producer Adam Kidron said he just wanted to honor the millions of immigrants seeking a better life in the U.S. when he came up with the idea of a Spanish-language version of the national anthem.

Kidron said his idea of "Nuestro Himno" "has never been to discourage immigrants from learning English and embracing American culture," but rather seeks to provide an outlet for patriotism for those who have not yet learned English.

The initial version of "Nuestro Himno," or "Our Anthem" comes out Friday and features artists such as Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon.

But some Internet bloggers and others are infuriated by the thought of "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung in a language other than English, and the Spanish version of the song has already been the target of a fierce backlash.

"It's kind of an odd way for illegal immigrants to ask the American people to forgive them for their offenses — to appropriate one of our symbols and make it suit them better," Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter immigration controls, told CBS News correspondent Richard Schlesinger.

However, Canada's national anthem, "O, Canada," is sung in both English and French.

On Friday, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander introduced a resolution to, in his words, "Remind the country why we sing our National Anthem in English," reports Schlesinger.





"Nuestro Himno" uses lyrics based closely on the English-language original, said Kidron, who heads the record label Urban Box Office.

In the first verse, the references to bombs and rockets have been changed to "fierce combat." However, the second stanza is almost all new, with phrases that Francis Scott Key never wrote, such as "we are equal, we are brothers."

There are four verses in the original poem.

"We hope that the President would listen to the passionate and thoughtful rendition of the anthem presented by 'Nuestro Himno' and embrace the opportunity to teach a wider audience about the American Dream," Kidron said.

Pro-immigration protests are planned around the country for Monday, and the record label is urging Hispanic radio stations nationwide to play the cut at 7 p.m. EDT Friday in a sign of solidarity. It was being distributed to stations via e-mail as an MP3 file.

A remix to be released in June will contain several lines in English that condemn U.S. immigration laws. Among them: "These kids have no parents, cause all of these mean laws ... let's not start a war with all these hard workers, they can't help where they were born."
  • Lloyd Vries

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