CASPER, Wyo. — The National Anthem Girl will celebrate the two-year anniversary of her journey toward making history on Thursday in Cody, the 38th stop on Janine Stange’s tour to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in all 50 states.
Stange started her goal to perform the National Anthem in every state on July 3, 2012, with hopes of raising awareness regarding the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s song witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.
The song will turn 200 on Sept. 14, leaving Stange, a graphic designer by trade who has sung the anthem since high school, just a couple of months to knock out the rest of her list.
Her performance at the Cody Stampede Rodeo joins a list of venues that includes sporting events for the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Cincinnati Reds and AMA Supercross.
“It’s the only song for 90 seconds that anybody within earshot of it, no matter who they voted for or who they want to win if they’re watching a game, when that song is played, we are united,” Stange said. “I think that’s such a strong thing because that’s what this country was founded on. We are one nation, no matter what.”
Stange’s efforts have allowed her to elevate the song’s importance to help those it help represents. Along with her goal of becoming the first person to sing in every state, Stange has teamed with Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit that annually sends 100,000 care packages to United States service members, veterans and caregivers, by providing blank thank-you cards for audience members to fill out and send.
“It’s amazing just to see such a display of patriotism,” Stange said. “I love the fact that this isn’t about anything but our song and displaying gratitude to the patriotic experience.”