Proponents of Spanish Anthem Point to Rice

By PAULINE JELINEK
The Associated Press
Monday, May 1, 2006; 11:36 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Bush wants people to sing the national anthem in English only. Promoters of singing it in Spanish are pointing to comments by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice _ and her department's Web site _ as ammunition for their side of the argument.

There are four Spanish versions on USINFO.State.gov, a multi-language Web site.

"I've heard the national anthem done in rap versions, country versions, classical versions," Rice said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "The individualization of the American national anthem is quite under way."

The State Department site for some time has offered translations of the U.S. Constitution, pledge of allegiance and other documents in French, Arabic and other foreign languages to help people understand America better.

This is what promoters say they had in mind with the Spanish anthem recording, which has drawn criticism from Internet bloggers.

Weighing in on Bush's side of the argument was Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who introduced a resolution affirming that the song, pledge allegiance to the flag and other "statements of national unity" should be done in English.

When 'Nuestro Himno,' a Spanish version of the anthem, debuted last week, Bush said "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."

After Bush rejected the idea, British music producer Adam Kidron said, "We instead view `Nuestro Himno' as a song that affords those immigrants that have not yet learned the English language the opportunity to fully understand the character of 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' the American flag and the ideals of freedom that they represent."

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On the Net:

State Department site http://usinfo.state.gov/esp/home/topics/us_society_values/national_symbols/a

nthem_spanish.html


© 2006 The Associated Press