To Miss with Love by Snuffy, a British teacher, is back with a great story about a teachers’ tour of schools in India. The children sing the Indian national anthem. Then the principal asks the visiting British teachers to sing their national anthem, God Save the Queen.
I grab the arm of the teacher next to me in desperate need of solidarity. She looks straight at me, knowingly. We all know we’re dead. We all know we don’t know the words. We’re going to cook slowly, humiliated in agony, twisting in excruciating embarrassment …
. . . One of the Indian teachers sits at the piano and begins to play. The English national anthem? Of course she knows it. She doesn’t even need the sheet music. She knows the tune by heart.
So we begin. Our voices shake slightly, gathering strength as we continue. A sense of pride starts to build within our group. We look at each other and smile as we sing. Every now and then one of us stumbles slightly on a word, but the others hold strong and the hesitation disappears in a sea of near-pride and nationalism. . . . as I stand next to my fellow teachers, in front of these foreigners in a foreign land, I start to realise that this is the first and only time I have ever sung the British national anthem.
Americans get quite a bit of exposure to the Star Spangled Banner. The syntax is complex and the high notes are challenging. Could U.S. teachers sing it without fear? I think so.
Snuffy plans to visit New York City — if she can get a visa. The online form asks:
Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?
Snuffy wonders if spies, saboteurs, terrorists and mass murderers check “yes” on the form.