July 24th, 2024

Anthem lyric change not a big deal

By Letter to the Editor on July 18, 2017.

Bravo to the News and its coverage and promotion of Canada’s 150th birthday. The newspaper on July 1 was great with the Canadian flag once again printed for those inclined to post it in a window or wherever.

However, there is one area that your proof readers slipped up on and that is the printing of the lyrics to our national anthem. If you recall “in all thy son’s command” was replaced by “in all of us command” last October. Oh, oh! I can hear many traditionalists saying, “This is ridiculous,” “No government can shove these lyrics down my throat.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion but a little fact checking is in order here.

This song was originally written to celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day back in the 1800s and was instrumental only. Lyrics originally added were all French (and have not changed at all since that time). The English lyrics have been changed several times since but as far back as 1917 the lyrics in question were “thou dost in us command.” So, today’s version is not that far from the 1917 version.

In 1980 “O Canada” became the official national anthem of Canada. At that time one line was changed and “from far and wide, O Canada” was added. Did it cause controversy? You bet. But today one would be hard pressed to hear someone sing the old lyrics let alone remember them.

So here we are — 150 years old. Let our celebrations continue and let us proudly sing our national anthem with its new lyrics. After all, if this is all we have to complain about we must live in a wonderful country.

Tom Rooke

Medicine Hat

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