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Giants Fan Remembers Whitney Houston Singing National Anthem at Super Bowl 25 in 1991
I was only seven years old on the night of Super Bowl 25.
January 27, 1991 was about different things to different members of my family. I was, and still am, the only New York Giants fan in my family. Since I couldn't really remember the details of Super Bowl 21 at the time, that night was the first significant Super Sunday of my young life. My father, a diehard Cleveland Browns fan since conception, watched and rooted along with me. His heart obviously wasn't into the game in the same way, though.
My oldest brother viewed the big game differently than any of us. He was in the US Army at the time of Super Bowl 25, when Desert Shield became Desert Storm. He never saw any active duty during that particular conflict. He was too busy fighting what was ultimately a losing battle against cancer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills prepared to take the field that historic night.
As you'd probably expect, I don't remember all of Super Bowl 25 play-by-play. Certain things, such as that magical third quarter drive highlighted by what I believe to be the second greatest play in Super Bowl history (just second to the David Tyree grab), will forever live in the memory. I'll also never forget my immediate reaction once Scott Norwood's field goal went wide of the upright. I also distinctly remember hearing Whitney Houston belting out what is thought, by many, to be the greatest public rendition of the "The Star Spangled Banner" ever heard.
To be honest, I remember not caring about it all that much at the time.
It'd be a really nice story to say that I stood up in a moment of patriotism and saluted as I, for the first time in my life, truly embraced my love for my country thanks to Whitney Houston. That just didn't happen. I was a young boy waiting for the kickoff of a Super Bowl that featured my Football Giants. There was no way I, at the time, was at all capable of comprehending the historic moment that I was blessed to see live and in living color. I didn't have time for songs. I wanted to see Lawrence Taylor squash Jim Kelly like a bug.
Sure, we now know years later that Houston was lip-synching the national anthem on that evening, and the version of the song that we heard was one that was prerecorded days before Super Bowl 25. It was still Houston singing the anthem, and it was immaculate. Francis Scott Key couldn't have possibly imagined his poem would ever sound so glorious. The Whitney Houston version of the national anthem became our anthem after September 11, 2001, and it's one certain FM radio stations still play throughout the year.
I was never a humongous Whitney Houston fan. I didn't dislike her music, and I certainly respected all she achieved during her incredible career. I've never bought a Whitney Houston album, however, and that isn't going to change now that she is gone far too soon. Still, I'll always smile and think of her whenever I hear the anthem attempted by lesser talents before every Super Bowl. Whitney Houston will forever be linked with one of my happiest childhood memories. You couldn't ask for much more from any entertainer.
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