SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) — The country's most patriotic song, "The Star-Spangled Banner," most recently caught up in the contentious NFL kneeling debate, is once again in the spotlight -- this time recommended for removal as the national anthem.
The California NAACP wants to introduce a resolution to state lawmakers that proposes removing “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.
California and Hawaii NAACP president and national board member Alice Huffman brought up the idea at a recent NAACP state convention -- along with two resolutions to support Colin Kaepernick and to sensor President Donald Trump after he used profanity toward NFL players who knelt during the anthem.
The proposal is not intended to disrespect the flag, Huffman said.
“We’re not trying to protest the flag at all,” Huffman said. “We’re protesting this racist song that has caused so much controversy in America, and we’re just trying to get it removed. So, whatever comes out in the future as a national anthem, we can all stand proudly and sing it.”
Huffman is referring to the rarely sung third stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner”:
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
“If you look at it, there's no way you can think it meant anything great for African-Americans," Huffman said.
Air Force veteran, Master Sgt. Ryan Peterson, disagrees.
"I love the national anthem," Peterson said. "It gives me chills every time I hear it."
Peterson said he’s never heard the third stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” played in public. He said he teaches his JROTC students at Hiram Johnson High School to respect the flag and anthem with pride.
"It's [a] significantly deeper meaning to an Air Force member, to a veteran, to a veteran in our community, than the perceived disrespect or the perceived racism of the third stanza," Peterson said.
Huffman said she and the NAACP want the proposal to eventually reach Congress in hopes that a more inclusive song can replace the current anthem.