By Wendy Suares
A non-profit group is traveling the nation and asking the question, "Oh say can you sing?" The National Anthem Project is in town for a two-day road show.
Brave competitors take the stage in Jackson and belt out the Star Spangled Banner. They know the words, but do you? A recent study found 2 out of 3 adults don't know the national anthem.
"Adults have been around a lot longer than I have, and if I know the Star Spangled Banner, then they should," says 13 year old Jordan Lynch.
"We might have learned it as a little child growing up," says Joy Hooper. "But now we just never listen to the words."
The National Anthem Project is reteaching Americans the lyrics and history of the Star Spangled Banner one city at a time, while also promoting music education in the classroom. Fewer children are learning patriotic songs as music programs are first to go when schools face budget crunches.
The non-profit organization wants Mississippians to demand more state funding for music education. "It's not just an easy A," says Road Manager Cliff Siler. "These kids are getting better grades in science and math, better disciplinary and teamwork skills. They're more likely to get involved in community activities. These are important attributes for our kids."
And the young vocalists competing at the road show already know the importance of music education. The winner will receive $1,000 to donate to any music program. "I'd give the money to my school, and I'd raise it for show choir," says 8 year old Jasmine Jackson, who attends school in Byram.
Lynch also has big plans for his school in Madison. "I want to see more kids get interested in choir, and I want to see my school do different things to promote more kids join choir," he says.
The National Anthem Project continues its stop in Jackson Tuesday from 11AM to 5PM, next to the Old Capitol building on State Street.