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Team Replaces National Anthem With Inclusive Classic

Newser — Bob Cronin

The third verse of the "Star-Spangled Banner" isn't sung publicly often. But among the little-known words are "No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave." The Tulsa Athletic has decided that's not the message it wants to send when fans gather for the semi-pro soccer team's home games.

So the team will sub out the national anthem with "This Land Is Your Land," USA Today reports. "We have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic," a co-owner said, which makes the "Star-Spangled Banner" a poor fit.

The team settled on Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie's 1940 folk anthem as its new "song of patriotism."

The statement said "This Land Is Your Land" expresses patriotism, but "in a far more inclusive way," per KJRH.

"The song speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation," Sonny Dalesandro said. "It represents a future Tulsa Athletic is committed to striving for." That was Guthrie's goal, per Mental Floss, though the song began as a sarcastic calling-out.

He settled on a version with less edge that appreciates his homeland's gradeur while holding the nation to its promise of working "for you and me"—not just the wealthy and privileged.

Guthrie's lyrics can be found here. (A court decided to keep "This Land Is Your Land" out of the public domain earlier this year.)

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