Woman to complete journey of singing national anthem in all 50 states
From Alaska to Florida, from Madison Square Garden to Wallace, Idaho, Janine Stange's voice has been heard singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" across nearly every state in the land of the free.
Her journey to perform the national anthem in all 50 states began in 2012, and she will cross the final state off her list on Thursday when she sings it in Tennessee.
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Her quest to put the "national" in national anthem will then culminate with a performance at Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Sept. 14 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the day Francis Scott Key wrote the words to a song Americans now know by heart.
Stange, a Long Island, New York, native, embarked on her trip out of respect for a group of men and women who protect the freedom that "The Star-Spangled Banner" represents.
"I love our military,'' she told Hallie Jackson on TODAY Thursday. "I'm always a big supporter of people who embody the meaning of the national anthem, and I just thought it was a perfect fit."
After each performance, she has set up a table for members of the audience to write thank-you notes to members of the military that are then sent as part of care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas.
"They don't know us personally,'' she said about military members. "But they'll do it because they love this country. They love the people they're fighting with, what they're fighting for, and their families, and I just think that's so amazing."
Stange is looking forward to her final performance of the tour on the anniversary of the national anthem.
"It's the only song for 90 seconds, no matter who you voted for, no matter what team you want to win, no matter what's going on, we're all as one, and I think there's power in that moment,'' she said. "We are one nation. We have one song, and this is our song."