National Anthem Girl (2019) Movie Script

The first time I ever
sang The National Anthem
was before a homecoming basketball
game at my high school on
Long Island. I was 16 years old. All I
remember is being so nervous, that I had
this death grip on the microphone cord,
and after I finished singing, I walked
over to where my mother was standing and I
said, "Mom, I can't open my hand!"
Oh, say,
can you see... by the dawn's
early light...
...what so proudly we hailed, at the
twilight's last gleaming...
...whose broad stripes and bright
Stars through the perilous
..o'er the ramparts
We watched were
So gallantly streaming...
the rockets' red glare
The bombs bursting
In air, gave
Proof through the night that our
Flag was still there...
Hi. My name is Janine Stange and I'm
The National Anthem Girl
JANINE: I grew up on Long Island,
New York, in a very normal,
very Italian, very patriotic family. My
great grandparents came here from
Italy at the turn of the century.
JANINE: Every day after school and every
weekend, I worked in my parents' bagel shop.
We had the best bagels,
but I really think that people
came in just to see my mother.
Everyone loved her, and there were
lots of regulars, but there was one
group that she had a major soft spot for...
and that was
our men and women in uniform.
She always went above and beyond
to make sure they felt like a million
bucks when they came in. That really
made an impression on me.
JANINE: I was always singing The National
Anthem... at high school functions, later
on in college, community events...
just anywhere and everywhere I could.
I loved singing The National Anthem.
In 2007, I moved to I.A.
with the intention of recording a CD.
JANINE: I had a producer...
had lots of connections... and I wound up
spending all my savings on this album.
Unfortunately, it didn't
turn out to be something I was uber proud
of, and not the album where
I would finally make it.
It wasn't a good thing.
JANINE: My family thought I was staying
in I.A. because I was having such
a great time, but the truth was I
didn't even have enough money to
move back to New York, and I didn't
want to tell them this. So here I was,
at this point in my life,
tired from all the rejections of trying
to self-start a music career.
But most of all, I was concerned
about my lack of direction and the
time I spent floundering because of
my 'when-then'.
A 'when-then' is a statement that
Goes something like this...
"When I win the lottery,
then I'll buy my parents a new house."
"When I feel motivated,
then I'll go to the gym."
My personal 'when-then' statement
always went something like this...
"When I get that record deal and have a
hit song, then I'm going to give back."
JANINE: And I had no idea
what that meant: I didn't know
what I was going to do. I just knew,
"when I'm this famous philanthropic
artist, then I'm going to give
back and make a big difference!"
JANINE: But my 'when-then' wasn't happening,
because my music career wasn't taking off,
and most of all, because of the
'when-then', I was feeling disgruntled.
JANINE: I'm not sure what
specifically happened to cause it...
maybe I was just fed up...
but something changed inside of me one
day... and I stopped the insanity of
the 'when-then delusion' and decided,
"I'm going to do what I can with what I have
from where I am." I'd like
to say I came up with that,
but it's a modified Theodore Roosevelt quote.
So I asked myself,
"What do I have?" Well,
I could sing, and the one song
that I loved to sing was The
National Anthem. It was a song
that I believed in, and I'd been
singing practically all my life.
JANINE: What if I could use that song
to promote a dialogue about patriotism
and pride? And when I did that,
when I attached myself to something
that was bigger than me, instead of
feeling sorry for myself, that's when
my mind and my heart began to get on a roll.
JANINE: And shortly after that, it occurred to me,
" You know, nobody's ever sung The National Anthem
in all 50 states. That would be perfect!"
JANINE: Some people run marathons for
a cause. This will be my marathon.
I'll promote patriotism by being
the first person to sing The Star
Spangled Banner in all 50 states!
Now, how do I do that? Okay,
Here's the deal: I had no
corporate sponsorships...
no over-the-top connections...
no booking agent
support team...
and very little money in my bank account.
How in the world was I going to fly
all over the country, including Alaska
and Hawaii, and sing The
National Anthem in every state?
Then a light bulb sort of went off
in my head as I realized something:
JANINE: Since I was 16,
and over the years, I'd already sung
at events in New York, New
Jersey, Connecticut, Texas,
Arkansas, Maryland, Georgia,
Massachusetts, and California.
So I started off
the mission with 9 states
already under my belt. Just
41 states to go.
So I was all set. With the money I had
in my savings, I was just going to pay
as I went along and hope for the best.
One foot in front of the other.
And one other thing: In every
place I was going, every state,
every event, the focus was
going to be on the melody
as it was written.
No vocal acrobatics, no poetic
license. And the home, of the
JANINE: This song was not going to be my
my American Idol audition.
This was not my song. It was our song.
So that was settled.
All I had left to figure out was how to sing
The National Anthem in
41 states to make all 50.
JANINE: Okay, so my new-found mission
officially kicked off in Florida
on July 3rd, 2012. I sang The National
Anthem for the Single-A Tampa
Yankees at George Steinbrenner
Park. Okay, so we are here
in the main lobby of the
Tampa Yankees... so, I thought that we
would video some things so that you all
could see different memorabilia from the
Yankees that's here. We have a
picture of George & Joan Steinbrenner.
Some trophies. I don't think this is
the real one because I think it would
be in glass and somebody would be yelling
at me right now because I'm touching it.
This is my favorite piece of the whole place.
So there you have it. So, we're going to go
upstairs in a little while. This right here is
a, um, a artifact as well. It's my
hairclip because it's really humid outside,
and uh, I'm trying to keep it back so
I don't look like a crazy person when I
go out there and sing.
And the home of the
JANINE: Florida was State #10,
and I was off to the races. Next, I
sang in Williamsport, PA,
before the Williamsport Crosscutters
minor league baseball game... then it
was on to Newport, Rhode Island, where
I sang in the company of Pete
Sampras at the Tennis Hall of Fame
Championship Weekend. After that,
I sang for The Denver Outlaws at Mile High
Stadium, then it was on to Great
American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio...
for the Reds versus the Mets game: My first
performance at a major
league baseball stadium.
State #15 was a pro Bullrider's event
in Greensboro, NC, and the spectacle of
an Italian girl from Long Island
surrounded by a sea of cowboy hats.
JANINE: I finished out 2012 at
another pro Bullriders event,
this one in Las Vegas, NV,
broadcast on CBS Sports.
So 2012 was over.
16 states under my belt. I felt like I
was making, you know, some progress.
But with 34
states still left to go,
I was starting to the enormity
of what I had committed to taking on.
I started off
2013 in The Windy City
for another pro Bullriders
event. State #18, I sang The Anthem
for The High School Dream Bowl in Salem. VA.
I also got a lesson how brutally
cold and windy the Southeast can
be at the end of January.
In July 2013, I sang
The National Anthem before a lacrosse
event sponsored by Nike in Beaverton, OR.
Bringing my total states up to 19. This event
was also where I received a
pair of fluorescent yellow Nikes
that would become my permanent travel
companions throughout every airport on my
journey. So for the entire year of 2013, I
only added 4 states to my total.
"Not bad," I said,
"19 states down, 31 more to go."
I wish could have added more,
but I had limited resources.
And hey, who cared
how long it took me to sing The Anthem in all
50 states. I mean, it's not like there was
a time limit, right? Wrong!
It was January, 2014,
and I was in Baltimore, Maryland.
As I was shutting the trunk
of my boyfriend's car, I
noticed something on the license plate.
It said, 'Star Spangled
200 dot com'. I grabbed my phone,
went to the website...
The Star Spangled Banner was
turning 200 years old that year,
2014, on September 14th. Oh my gosh.
What are the odds? I said, "That's it!
That has to be the completion
date... the goal that brings
this whole thing home!
What better way to raise awareness for
the song, and all the brave men and women
it represents? The 200th
anniversary of The National Anthem!"
I had never been so excited and so panicked
at the same time. It also meant that I had
exactly nine months to sing The
National Anthem in 31 states.
Cue the hyperventilating.
Okay, so that wouldn't be so bad.
I mean, that only meant, what,
like, 3 or 4 states a month? I could do
that, right? I had to find
events and convince people
to book me to sing at them in 31 states:
And of course, figure out to pay for all of it
while not getting kicked out of my apartment.
JANINE: My bank account would probably
get me through about 5 or 6 states.
I remember, I converted my bedroom
to, what I called, 'The Situation
Room'. I called every major
college, minor league, major league,
teams, charity events, anything
I could find. I would explain to them what I was
doing, and, hopefully, if they didn't hang up on me,
I would get booked.
RADIO HOST: Janine stange, aka national anthem
Girl, welcome to the show.
JANINE: Thank you. It's great to be on.
HOST: Well, you know, singing in all
50 states, that is an ambitious goal.
JANINE: I just, I felt for the need.
You know, The National Anthem
is turning 200 on September 14th, and
even prior to realizing that,
I always said I'd link to sing
The anthem in all 50 states.
HOST: I can tell in your voice, that's truly a passion
Of yours.
JANINE: It's really to promote awareness for
the fact that The National Anthem is
not just, like I said, a formality.
And there was also one other thing.
I decided I wanted to give back even more.
JANINE: The sole purpose of the journey was
to honor our brave and raise awareness
that the song our armed
forces give meaning to
was about to turn 200. So I got
in touch with a woman named Carolyn Blashek.
She's the founder of
Operation Gratitude, which is an organization
that sends out thousands of care packages
every year to military personnel who are
deployed. And in those care packages, there's
always a handwritten note to people in
uniform. So I said to Carolyn,
"I'm going to all these venues
across the U.S...
what if every place I go, I set something
up so private citizens,
everyday people, from all
over the country,
write thank you notes to go into these
packages that you're sending out?"
And Carolyn said, "Go for it."
So with that, the bar on my
journey was raised again: I was
actually going to be able to attach
this act of gratitude to those who
serve while I was promoting
The National Anthem's 200th.
TV HOST: One thing we all do,
no matter how big or small the game,
is stand, remove our hats,
as we listen to the nation's
song. One woman is trying to
remind everyone just how important
that its. Meet Janine Stange,
better known as, The National
Anthem Girl. Stange is performing
The Star Spangled Banner
in all 50 states this year. Alabama is
number 20 under her belt
as she spreads patriotism
throughout the country. Along with singing
our country's song, The National Anthem
Girl is collecting handwritten
thank you cards that will go into
care packages for deployed
military and veterans.
JANINE: Alabama marked the first venue where
I implemented the thank you cards for
the troops... and people loved it... which
was very exciting for me, to see college
students, older veterans,
young kids, all come
together at a table,
even kneeling on pavement, expressing their
gratitude, in their own words, to those
who protect our freedom. The mission
was coming to life.
So with this new sense of urgency, I
started to get a little wiser with how I
did my bookings to sing The Anthem: Meaning,
trying to choose states that
were next to each other, which
helped alleviate the expensive flights,
due to the dart board planning approach that
I'd used early on. So, on this particular trip
down south, I sang The Anthem at
The University of Mobile baseball
game in Alabama.
The next day, it was another baseball
game for Southern Miss
University in Hattiesburg, MS...
and the next day a baseball game
for The Tulane Green Wave in
New Orleans, LA. ...And the home
of the brave
JANINE: Three days. Three states.
Now I was getting into a rhythm.
On April 1st, I had the honor of singing
The Anthem at the Orpheum Theater
in Phoenix for Navy Seal Marcus
Luttrell's Patriot Tour Event.
Oh, say, can you see
By the dawn's early
Light... o'er the land
Of the free,
And the home of
JANINE: The line at my
thank you card table was so long.
JANINE: The next day, I flew to
Utah, State #24, for the Utah Grizzlies
minor league hockey team.
Now, this was an interesting one. In the
past, when I've sung on ice.
They give you a rug to stand on.
JANINE: But not here. They swore it was
safer, but I was there with these high
heeled boots on with hockey players
whizzing past me during the intros.
Thank God I did not fall flat on my face.
The Utah trip was also when I realized
that it seemed a few people were beginning
to hear about what I was doing.
This nice couple who had been following me on
Twitter came to the game with their kids,
took me to dinner, and dropped me off
back at the airport. This journey
was starting to make me feel like
we are really all one big family.
It was nice.
JANINE: My next state was
Delaware: My halfway point. State
#25 out of 50. I was scheduled to sing The
National Anthem for The University of
Delaware Women's Lacrosse team, The Blue
Hens. Delaware was not only my midpoint
state, it was also my planes, trains,
and automobiles state.
To get to Wilmington, I
had flow from Utah to New
York, took a taxi to my
brother's house,
then too a subway to the Amtrack station,
and rode the train down to
Delaware, where I took the scenic
route to the stadium on foot.
But I did get good
photos. After I sang The
Anthem, I rode back to the
train station on a bus.
The only thing I was missing
was a boat. My next state that marked
the beginning of the second half of my
journey was West Virginia: State #26.
JANINE: West Virginia... let me
tell you about West Virginia.
I was scheduled to sing The
Anthem for The Musselman High
School Applemen baseball
game in Inwood, WV.
The day of the event,
the game got rained out. So,
since I was already there, and needed
a venue so I could add West Virginia
to my list of states,
the nice people at Musselman High offered
me an alternative sporting event. Donkey
basketball. Up until this point, I'd sung
on diamonds, gridirons, ice,
tennis courts, in boxing rings...
never before had I sung in the presence of
donkeys. If you told me
when I started out that
I'd be promoting patriotism
around a bunch of high
schoolers in helmets, indoors,
shooting baskets while
sitting on the back of donkeys...
it was actually pretty fun.
Smelly, obviously, but fun.
PRINCIPAL'S VOICE: ...all 50 states.
Last night, she sang for our donkey
basketball game, making us the 26th state
in which she has sung.
At this time, Janine Stange,
who lives in California,
is visiting us here this
morning, and she is going to open
up our announcements and our day
by singing our National Anthem.
JANINE: Oh, say, can you
See, by the dawn's early
Light... o'er the land
Of the free, and the
Home of the brave
JANINE: The next day
I traveled to Charleston,
SC to perform The Anthem for
the Single-A Charleston River
Dogs of the South Atlantic League,
marking my singing of The Star
Spangled Banner in State #27.
JANINE: And right after South
Carolina, I headed back up
to New York to get ready for
what would be my most important
appearance yet. Quick sidebar. One the
questions I'm asked most often is...
was I getting compensated for singing
The Anthem in all these events.
The answer is no.
JANINE: I footed the bill
for all my travels to the
27 states I'd completed thus far.
That's plane tickets, train
tickets, rent-a-cars, cabs, clothes,
Ubers, busses, hotels, meals,
websites, printing my thank
you cards for all the troops...
all self funded - meaning
my own personal savings,
credit cards, frequent flyer miles...
all of which were
getting close to bottoming out.
So, back to my most
important upcoming appearance.
JANINE: I was scheduled to appear
live on the Fox & Friends
morning show on April 14th with
27 states down and 23 still to go.
I had just recently
Put together a crowdfunding page
to A: Make more people aware
Of what I was trying to
accomplish, and, B: Help
raise funds through donations so I
can complete my journey by September
14th. (JANINE, IN VIDEO) This is about
us, uniting as one
nation, for one song, our song,
The Star Spangled Banner...
so please, help support this mission.
Help me get this message out
to all 50 states by September 14th, our
National anthem's 200th anniversary.
JANINE: (NARRATION) An appearance
on a nationally-televised morning
program could not hurt my chances.
HOST: So far, she has
checked 27 states off
...hopes to complete her task by this
September, when our National Anthem turns
200 years old.
2ND HOST: Joining us now, Janine stange.
2ND HOST: Well, so 27 down. JANINE: Yes.
3RD HOST: We actually have a map right her
to take a look at here, so the red indicates those that you have
performed in already... you're booked in the pink states...
JANINE: Mm-hmm. 3RD HOST: The brown states, you're working
on it. Yes. And you're going to make this happen. Why
did you start this? JANINE: Really, there's
got to be respect, and I think that's
what my mission is, is to bring respect and
highlight that, so people can say, "You know
what? This is an awesome, you know, song."
HOST: You've got a job in Los Angeles.
How do you find the time?
How can you afford to do this?
JANINE: I..I don't... it's... amazing that I've been
able to do this. I've funded the whole half pretty much
by myself. Uh,
it's a miracle that I did that... but
I need to get done by September 14th,
and I need people's help at this point.
National exposure can be a beautiful thing.
Since I first started,
I spent all my time on the phone
...calling places to see
if they'd have me to sing
The Anthem,
and then trying to explain what I was
doing and why.
And now, I was getting inundated
with people contacting
me, offering me venues.
I remember, I got home from the
studio and was up for two days
straight, fielding calls
and replying to emails.
Sitting in my apartment, I felt like an
air traffic controller. I had all these
flight schedules and maps everywhere,
trying to figure out which venues
were close to state borders,
where the airports were, and how many
states I could hit within a two
hour radius of my anchor state.
And best of all,
locking in Anthem performances in states.
With a little under 5 months
left, and 23 states
to go, May, June,
and July could literally be described
With one word... "Whirlwind".
RADIO HOST: We have Janine
Stange, and, uh, she's
she's attempting to go to all
50 states and sing our National
Anthem in every state. Can you tell my
listeners, and you viewers on Ustream here,
Um, why you're doing this.
JANINE: (ON PHONE) I'm doing this because
I absolutely love America
and I love what The National
Anthem represents. It's, um,
it's not just a song, it's our song.
RADIO HOST: And how many are you up to
right now... 27? JANINE: (ON PHONE) 27...
JANINE: (ON PHONE) ...yes, tomorrow will be 28. Radio
HOST: Tomorrow will be 28? Where are you going tomorrow?
JANINE: (ON PHONE) New Mexico.
RADIO HOST: Oh, New Mexico! JANINE: May 6th, 2014,
JANINE: I sand The Anthem for the
Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes in
Albuquerque, NM. On May 15th, I was
in Wisconsin and sang for The University
of Milwaukee Panthers baseball team.
JANINE: Wisconsin. Something
different happened in Wisconsin.
After hearing about a study that said one
third of all Americans don't
know the words to The National
Anthem, a Milwaukee reporter
from a local new station
had me walk up to random
people in town and do impromptu
duets, to see how many
people knew all the words.
JANINE: Oh, say, can you see...
MAN: By the dawn's early light.
JANINE: What so proudly we hailed...
WOMAN: At the twilight's last gleaming.
JANINE: Whose broad stripes and
Bright stars... REPORTER: Through.
WOMAN: Through...
WOMAN: Check this out...
JANINE: ...the ramparts we watched...
WOMAN: Were so gallantly streaming.
JANINE: ...and the rockets' red glare...
MAN: ... bunch of bombs
In the air... REPORTER: No, no, no...
JANINE: ...gave proof through the night...
MAN: ... that our land was still there
REPORTER: Our flag... our flag.
MAN: Yeah, and our flag, too.
JANINE: ...oh, say, does that star spangled...
WOMAN: ...banner yet wave...
JANINE: ... o'er the land of the free...
WOMAN: ...and the home of the brave
JANINE: Yayyy!
REPORTER: Wow, that was amazing.
JANINE: May 22nd found
me in Clarinda, Iowa,
for the Clarinda Chamber
of Commerce Annual Golf
Tournament... and I think that was the
first time I ever performed The Anthem
without a microphone. ...And the home of
The brave
JANINE: The next
day, I was in Nebraska for the Omaha
Parks and Rec Bridgebeats event.
JANINE: And the next day,
I sang in Maryville, MO.
Missouri... okay, so I'd never
been to this part of the country
before, so, as I was driving through
the state, I kept looking at all these
great views of the countryside,
with this big sky and all these
cows and horse... they were like paintings...
and I kept stopping the car
to take pictures for my social media pages.
It just so surreal to me...
and then, some Missouri Good Samaritan saw
me by the side of the road and stopped to
see if I needed help. I was, like, "No,
I'm just taking pictures of all the cows!"
Missouri was also the venue where
two local DJ's had me convinced
that both snipe hunting and cow
tipping were real sports. They even
Offered to take me snipe shooting.
DJ: ...yeah, snipe hunting's another thing, uh,
DJ: Because normally, they... well...
JANINE: Oh, a snipe is an animal? Just asking...
JANINE: I want to know what a snipe looks like now.
DJ: Janine, there's no such thing
As snipe. (LAUGHTER)
JANINE: Comedians.
JANINE: May 26th, Tulsa, okay,
was another humbling intersection
of sports and patriotism. I sang
The Anthem at The Patriot Cup
Invitational Golf Tournament, hosted by
Folds of Honor. Folds of Honor
provides scholarships to children
of fallen or disabled heroes.
I'll never forget
the sight I saw as I was going
into the building to sing.
JANINE: Two little boys,
dressed in patriotic colors, standing
at this memorial statue out front.
As I walked closer,
I realized they weren't just playing
around near the statue: They were
looking at the names inscribed on it.
Looking for
A name: Their dad... Who had made the
ultimate sacrifice in combat.
They were Gold Star Kids.
JANINE: While so many kids are
eating hot dogs and hamburgers,
happy to have a day off of school,
these two sons were remembering
their dad.
Since that day, I use that experience
of seeing those two little boys
to explain the difference...
the very important difference... between
Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
Veterans Day honors those
who served, and are still with us.
Memorial Day
is for the fallen.
Oklahoma, State #33,
was also where I was coined for the
first time. I was given a challenge coin,
which is a medallion
bearing a military insignia.
My coin was presented to me
by American hero, Major Ed
Pullido, who lost his leg
when he was hit by an IED
in 2004.
JANINE: You'd think my stop in Alaska
would be for a dog sledding event,
but it was actually singing The Anthem for
The Collegiate Summer League baseball game
between The Anchorage Bucs and The
Glacier Pilots. It was Military
Appreciation Day at the ballpark.
Also, while I was there,
I saw my first ever moose while I was on a
sightseeing trip at Katmailand
National Park near Anchorage, where
I also encountered a slight
timing problem. You see,
that time of year, it doesn't get
dark, so you can lose track of time.
I came very close to getting locked
inside the park. That was June 8th,
in Alaska, State #34. A week
later, I marked off Kansas
as State #35. I sang
The Anthem for The Independent
League Kansas City T-Bones.
HOST: Welcome to Community America Ballpark. I am
Matt Fulks, director of broadcasting & media relations, along with
Janine Stange, better known
as The National Anthem Girl.
HOST: This will be her 35th
state out of, you know, about 50.
That you're going to try to hit before
middle of September. JANINE: That's 15
Left. It's been quite an undertaking.
HOST: 9-11 has
a huge impact on everyone in this country,
but especially has a huge impact on
People in New York. JANINE: Yep.
HOST: Did that precipitate any of this for you?
JANINE: It definitely played a part, absolutely.
You know, I was there when it happened. I
was actually supposed to be in the city
that day. My mom was like, "I don't think
you should go.." and I ended up not going,
and thank God I'm here today. The National
Anthem causes you to think of those
things, and, uh, it was tough... you know,
and that really drives it home, how important
it is for us to be one. What's great about
this is, you know, going through every state,
you're really promoting awareness, and people
are really thinking, "I should tell my kids
what this really means," and it's causing a
dialogue, that, you know, I'm happy to
help, uh, you know, perpetuate.
JANINE: So that brings us
up to State #36. Oh, my
goodness... Wallace, Idaho. I was
given the opportunity to
sing somewhere very special.
I sang The National Anthem from
The Center of the Universe.
Wallace, Idaho, is this little mining
town of about 800 people, and they claim to
actually have the center of the
universe right there, in the middle
of the intersection of Bank and 6th Street.
JANINE: So when I got there,
I wasn't sure what to expect...
but it turned out to be one of the
stops that I talk about the most.
Elvis joined me on stage. An artist gave me a
litho portrait of Marilyn Monroe.
And I received a silver coin that
was salvaged from The Great Fire of 1910.
But when the time
came for me to sing The Anthem,
it was like something out of a movie.
The whole town showed up.
It was such an incredible
experience: An entire community
standing shoulder-to-shoulder
To honor America.
JANINE: ... and the home of
The brave (CHEERS)
When I had
gotten there, the organizer of the
event, Dave Deroos, said to
me, "When you get here,
just follow me: And you'll see me, because
I'm in a yellow ATV." (JANINE VOICE)
we dropped off my bags...
we went ziplining... we had so much fun...
Wallace, ID had like, so much stuff
going on... everybody was so friendly.
WALLACE MAN: We've screwed it up
every year for the last 5 years!
JANINE: It's all screwed up.
JANINE: I needed Idaho... State 36.
JANINE: The Center of the Universe,
and my breath of fresh air.
I still had 14 states to go,
and a little under 12 weeks
to get it done.
After I said goodbye to all the nice
people in Wallace, I drove back
west to Washington State to sing
For the class-a Spokane Indians.
JANINE: ...Oh, say,
does that star spangled
Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the
Free, and
The home of the
After I was done with
Spokane and Idaho,
I was on my way back and I was in the
airport. Standing on line in front of me was
a man who was carrying a US Army garment bag.
And, you know, I always would strike
up a conversation if I saw somebody was
in the military... and I was like, "Hey,"
I said, "where you headed?" And instead, he
told from where he had just come...
and that was his friend's
funeral. He escorted his friend's body home.
It was Corporal Justin Clouse. He had
given his life for our freedom on June 8th,
2014. This was his friend,
and he had just been with
all of Justin's family.
After he checked through security, I
turned around, and I remember looking
through, he was going through Gate A...
and I just watched him...
like this solitary figure...
with this heavy burden... walking
RODEO ANNOUNCER: And now, we welcome
in The National Anthem Girl, Janine Stange...
she's on a mission. She's on a
mission to sing our beautiful song in
all 50 states in honor
of our nation's heroes...
Janine's performance
tonight is the 38th state...
which she made the beautiful state
Ladies and gentlemen, our National
JANINE: My next stop was in Cody, WY, for
The Cody Stampede Rodeo.
The president of the rodeo...I
didn't even realize rodeos had presidents...
had actually seen me
on the news back in April and
invited me to sing at the Stampede.
The people there were like it was the
WIld, Wild West... but I
tell you... there was an opening
prayer, and every single person
bowed their head. One nation under God.
And when The Anthem was sung,
everyone stopped, stood with their hand
over their heart, and sang along.
It was such a moving experience... being
right there in the middle of what was truly
the heart and soul of America.
...that our flag was still
As you might have guessed,
July 4th I was somewhere
singing The National Anthem.
The venue was Red Lodge, MT...
and the event... what are the odds... another
JANINE: The event was great...
people were so into it...
4th of July... but something else
from my visit to Montana
literally stopped me in my tracks.
People we coming up to my thank you
card table like always... lining up
to fill out cards for the troops...
and an older man walked
up to the table and was watching
the others filling out cards:
And I could tell their actions
meant a lot to him... so I
asked, "Did you serve?"...and
he looked at me and said,
"No, I didn't. And I've
Regretted it every day of my life."
JANINE: He went on to explain how, when he
was 18, several of his friends had
gone off to serve, and a lot of them
didn't come back. As if on cue,
the wind picked up, and the thank you
cards began to blow off the table.
With tears still in his eyes,
he told me he would be back. About
10 minutes later, he came walking back
up, and handed me a rock.
He said, "This is for you,
from Montana with love." He
told me he looked for a rock that was shaped
like a heart: And he placed it on the pile of
thank you cards to keep them from
blowing away again. I always say
this rock was the most
priceless gift anyone gave
me on my journey. You may have regrets
in your past, but never let that
stop you from serving, now or in the future.
JANINE: State #40 was Indiana,
at the South Shore Car Show in
South Shore, IN. State #41 was
New Hampshire...
my first NASCAR event, singing The Anthem
before The Sprint Cup at New
Hampshire Motor Speedway.
In a town called 'Loudon', no less.
(JANINE SINGING) Oh, say, does that star
Spangled banner yet
Wave, o'er the
land of the free,
And the home of the
RADIO HOST: 42 under your belt.
JANINE: I continued my New England
loop singing The Anthem for
WTSA Radio in Brattelboro, VT.
FEMALE RADIO HOST #1: The rain cleared out,
the sun is out, and it's doing that just
FEMALE RADIO HOST #1: Who is arriving in our
wonderful state today? FEMALE RADIO HOST #2: Janine
Stange, otherwise known as National Anthem Girl...
JANINE: I headed up to Sanford, ME,
where I sang for The Sanford Mainers
of The New England Summer Collegiate League.
Something that never happened
before happened there.
Broose D'Moose, the Mainers' mascot,
made a beeline over to my table and
filled out a thank you card for the
troops. It was the first time a
mascot had ever done that for me:
And as crazy as it sounds,
that image, of a man
dressed as a moose in a baseball uniform,
who was pouring his heart out with words
that he was writing in that thank you card...
it meant so much to me.
JANINE: August 2014, my last full
month before the deadline,
started off with an upper Midwestern bang.
Over the course of 4 days, I sang The Anthem
for The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of
The Independent Pro Baseball League
In Fargo, Nd...
ANNOUNCER: ...Janine's performance tonight in Fargo
ANNOUNCER: Marks North
Dakota as her 44th state.
ANNOUNCER: Please join The National Anthem
Girl, Janine Stange... (APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)
JANINE: ...The American Legion Division
Two Championship in Milbank, SD,
where I took lots of photos of hay...
Home of the brave
ANNOUNCER: On behalf of American Legion Post 9,
The City of Milbank, the state of South Dakota,
ANNOUNCER: We present Janine Stange
with a bat to commemorate the day.
ANNOUNCER: Janine, thank you for your passion in
honoring our great nation and our true heroes...
ANNOUNCER: Both past, present and
future servicemen. Janine, thank you
ANNOUNCER: For allowing us
to be a part of your journey.
JANINE: Then I drove
to Minnesota and sang for The St.
Paul Saints,
another IPBL team in St. Paul, MN. An
adorable group of kids... they were all
cousins... sang with me on the field.
JANINE: That was 3 states,
4 days, 46 states down, and
just 4 more to go before September 14th.
The end was
in sight. State #47 was my first
trip ever to Kentucky...
to sing for the Triple-A Louisville
Bats at Louisville Slugger Field.
The Kentucky stop was unique
Because I had something that
I'd never had before: My own
film crew. They followed me
around from the moment I landed
at the airport. When I saw the footage,
all put together, even I was surprised at
how much I was cramming
into each day on the road.
JANINE: Hi. How cute that is!
JANINE: What's your name? So this
is Louisville, KY,
this is my first time ever at this
airport, or hear...
I'm really excited, because it's my 47th
state, and, um, I get to sing for
The Louisville Bats tomorrow night...
Hi. This is, uh,
my, uh, house in Kentucky...
there's no horses here...
but I think there are horses, we just
haven't found them yet... here's breakfast...
real exciting,
a lot of yogurt I didn't eat yet...
so I probably should eat...
so, I'm printing my boarding
pass, I typically use my app...
feels like all I do is print boarding passes.
JANINE: Time is always of essence when you're
tweeting things out, because you have to
tell people when you're going to be on air, and you
don't always know when you're going to be on air. So...
HOST: This is Janine Stange, on the
tour of the U.S., where she will sing
The Star Spangled Banner in all 50
states by September the 14th, that's
the 200th year anniversary of the song
that written by Francis Scott Key.
HOST: Tell us, uh,
I'm so inspired by what inspired this
HOST: Idea in the first place... why did
you come up with this idea to do this?
JANINE: I love singing The National Anthem.
I love what it represents. HOST: You think?
JANINE: Yeah, I would have
to at this point, you know?
JANINE: ...what I may do is take my
camera out and take a photo of it.
...I sang The Anthem from the bleacher
section, I just remember everybody looking around, like,
"okay, there's somebody singing where is she?..."
...but I wasn't going to not sing The
Anthem... phone-calls (LAUGH) a lot of
phone-calls, a lot of looking online to
see, well, this state, this city,
and this state is pretty close to this one, so this could
work if I flew in and drove to the other state... it's a
lot of logistics...
Okay, this is it, people...
we're going to The Louisville
Slugger Field for The Louisville
Bats game in Kentucky... State 47!
JANINE: They have my intro.
HOSTESS: Yeah, see, I pulled it right off the Dropbox.
JANINE: That's good. HOSTESS: I want to make sure it's
the 45 intermission. JANINE: So, all you have to do is
Hold it like this...
ANNOUNCER: The bats are pleased to introduce the national
Anthem Girl, Janine Stange... she's
singing anthems in all 50 states,
in honor of our nation's heroes by September
14th, which is the 200th anniversary
of The Star Spangled Banner...
ladies and gentlemen... Janine Stange!
Oh, say, can you
by the dawn's early
Light, what so proudly
We hailed at the twilight's
last gleaming...
...o'er the land of the free
And the home
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen,
how about a welcome hand for The
National Anthem Girl, Janine Stange! sing that song, it's not something
to take lightly... it's not a formality...
The national anthem is our song.
CAMERAMAN: That's perfect. Thank you so
Much, I appreciate it. Good luck on the rest of your journey.
JANINE: Oh, thank you. Thanks so much.
WOMAN: ...sign our name to it, or?
JANINE: You can even say where you're from, if you want...
because that's nice. You could even
say, like, you were at the Bats game...
TEEN: Sign it?
JANINE: Say something nice, like put like...
...a message that's going to go to somebody that's deployed,
so they're going to be reading something from you...
JANINE: Okay? Hi.
Do you want to sign a card?
ANNOUNCER:... at theanthemgirl on Twitter...
yep... and you can find all the different
events that are coming up, or that I
...a lot of people are, like, "Where did you
sing in Wyoming?" you can go to that
page and you'll see all the
events that I've performed for.
JANINE: Do you have to leave now?
WOMAN: Yeah.
JANINE: It's okay I can, we can take... thank you
so much. Did you see about that? You can follow
me on Facebook and Twitter, okay? The Kentucky
venue was also memorable,
because between innings, I went
into the stands to spend some time
with some veterans who were at the
game... listening to their stories about
serving our country, and getting their
viewpoints on what it meant to be a patriot.
The most profound
of these was a 92 year-old WWII veteran named
Cliff, who stormed
Normandy on D-Day... and he
told me what I believe is
the most clear and concise
definition that I've ever heard.
JANINE: What would you tell the
youth of today about America?
JANINE: What would you tell them... about
this country, would be the advice
you'd give them? (CLIFF'S VOICE)
JANINE: I always pass on his
advice... in fact,
anyone who asks me about my journey will
absolutely hear about Cliff.
JANINE: The next day,
I was on a plane headed to
Michigan, State #48. I sang The Anthem at
Comerica Park before a game between The
Detroit Tigers and the Seattle Mariners.
(JANINE SINGING) ...o'er the land of the
And the home of the
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and
gentlemen, Janine Stange...
with our National Anthem!
JANINE: A week
later I was in Honolulu, HI, State 49.
I sang aboard the historic
battleship, USS Missouri, anchored
in Pearl Harbor.
(JANINE SINGS) Oh, say, can you see,
By the dawn's early
Light, what so proudly we
Hailed at the twilight's
last gleaming, whose broad stripes
And bright stars, through the
Perilous fight...
JANINE: Hawaii was incredible.
JANINE: The USS Missouri and
USS Arizona sit side by side
in Pearl Harbor.
They bookend World War 2. An officer
gave me a tour of Hickman Air Base, Ford
Island... and some of the buildings still
have shrapnel damage. 2403
souls were lost right there 75 years prior...
JANINE: ...and our flag is still there.
JANINE: Also in Hawaii,
The Today Show was there to tape an
interview segment about my mission...
the segment would hopefully air
on the day I made it to State #50.
JANINE: One state left to go.
It almost didn't seem real.
Okay, let's take a to recap
and fill in some frequently
asked questions...
JANINE: Where did I come
up with the name, 'National Anthem Girl'?
JANINE: I was scheduled to sing The
Anthem at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
JANINE: On the way there, traffic was
so bad that I barely made it there.
Right before I was supposed to go
on, I got out of my car,
rushed to the stadium entrance,
right past all the people in line, and told
the gate attendant, "Look, you got to
let me in. I'm the National Anthem girl!"
And once I got in,
I thought two things: One...
so much for security, and two...
that's a really good name.
So, when I got back home,
I bough the domain handle and
went with it from there. Another question...
JANINE: How did you
keep things rolling all
by yourself? Two words: Social
media. Throughout my journey,
I was constantly posting
to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,
to let people know where I
was, where I'd be next,
which state number I was up to...
some nights, depending on what
time zone I was in, I'd wake up at
3 a.m., with one eye open,
just to update any status for the
next event. I don't what I would do
if I was only able to rely on faxing
press releases or calling people,
because I was on a plane or driving
most of the time.
And it was because of social media
that Heather Nauert from
Fox News caught wind of my
goal and shared it with her producers,
which culminated in my appearance
on Fox & Friends, which wound up
being the turning point in the
national awareness for my journey.
If it wasn't for this little device,
I might not have made it. Next question...
JANINE: After 2 years
promoting The Anthem, did I receive
many marriage proposals along the way?
Yes, I did. (SILENCE)
(SILENCE) Question...
JANINE: After performing
The Anthem so far in
49 states, after 2 very intense
years, how does
it feel to finally get to the
finish line with State #50?
It feels like I've truly seen
the real America. On
49 separate occasions,
I performed our song for the people that
make up this nation.
At every ballpark, every speedway,
every basketball court, every hockey rink,
every rodeo arena, I would always look
in the stands to see
people who understood that
regardless of what team they wanted to
win, and which politician
they would vote for,
in the 90 seconds it took for The Anthem
to be sung, we were all as one...
one home... one voice... on nation under God.
Every now and then, I'd look up and
see some young person not singing
along, looking around like they
were bored... and I prayed that kid
would have someone in their life
to just explain to them just why
this song was so important...
that this song, it's not a
formality, and singing it
is not something we have to
do, but it's something we
get to do. Other times,
I'd look up and see a person with a
certain look in their eye, and their hand
over their heart, rendering a salute,
and you could tell they had
served, or were close to someone
who had. These were the people I
would focus on while I would sing.
JANINE: After one performance,
a veteran came up to me and said,
"Thank you for singing The Anthem
the way it was meant to be sung."
And I looked at him and said, "Oh my gosh,
like, you served. It's because of you
that I can even sing this song." I
also got to see, up close and personal,
the debt of gratitude that
Americans feel for those
who put their lives on the
line every day to protect us...
GIRL'S VOICE: Thank you so much for
being so brave... you kept us so safe...
MAN'S VOICE:...thank you for your service, and
may God richly bless you, your family, your...
Fellow service personnel...
WOMAN'S VOICE: From the bottom of my heart for your sacrifice...
And love for our country...
GIRL'S VOICE: Thank you for keeping our country
safe. You're my hero!
JANINE: So yeah, I've seen America, and
I've learned two things:
America is beautiful, and
Americans are beautiful.
Because, at the end of the
day, what I've witnessed on
this journey is that we're
a country of dreamers,
and we're also fighters.
Deep down, we all want what's best for our
country, and especially
for the next generation.
JANINE: Last question...
JANINE: Who or what was your motivation?
I believe I did it for the heroes...
the men and women
who sacrifice everything to
serve our country, believing
in something bigger than themselves...
I remember their faces...
World War 2, Korean War, Desert Storm...
Vietnam veterans,
the Purple Heart recipients...
the worried, yet proud,
faces of dads and moms,
brothers and sisters whose loved
ones were currently deployed...
the Gold Star parents...
they made a mark on my life... I'll never
be same as a result of
meeting these people...
And I did it for the people of
America, the ones who
needed a gentle reminder that
we're all in this together,
and that freedom is not free.
JANINE: And I did it for my mother, Patty,
who passed away from breast cancer in 2011.
JANINE: How much do I wish she could have
been here to see all that's happened
these last 2 years. She was the
kind of mother who would've slapped
me silly if I wasn't using my gifts
to give to others in some way.
My mother never told me to do
something patriotic. She showed me
by example. (SOFT PIANO MUSIC)
RADIO HOST:...Jersey girls in the
house, studio filling
up, and now the beautiful
Janine Stange is in our nook...
RADIO HOST: All right, you probably have heard this name
a lot, especially in the last few weeks, as her journey
has come to fruition...
everything she has dedicated the last
2 years to is finally culminated in this last
week... on this 2 year journey to sing
The National Anthem in all 50 states.
RADIO HOST: Now, Janine,
where did this idea come from?
JANINE: I just always loved singing The National Anthem.
I sang it since I was in high school. I always wanted
to do something to give back, so, I realized
nobody ever sang in all 50 states...
RADIO HOST: Nobody had ever done that before?
JANINE: No. Now I understand why nobody's ever
Done it. (LAUGHS)
JANINE: Tennessee... State #50.
The end of the road. This was it.
As my plane was landing
in Nashville, I remember thinking to
myself, "This is the last
time I'll ever mention the name
of a state with a number attached
to it." So, my journey
would end on August 28th at
LP Stadium in Nashville, TN,
singing The National Anthem
before The Tennessee Titans
played The Minnesota Vikings.
JANINE: As usual, my day started
out early, doing interviews
...meeting with local media.
RADIO HOST: Janine is going for
singing The National Anthem in all
50 states tonight at the Titans
Game... the state of Tennessee is #50.
JANINE: That's right. RADIO HOST: So by state #50,
it's pretty easy to get a National Anthem
gig somewhere in the state of Tennessee?
JANINE: Yeah, it wasn't that difficult. I'm
very happy to be, you know, singing for the
Titans, it's a big deal. RADIO HOST: So the response
has been really good everywhere you've gone?
JANINE: Yeah, and you know what I love about it? It's
because they, uh, the people are really embracing
this whole concept of, you know,
being grateful, attaching the meaning
of The National Anthem to the people who
represent it. It's a good thing that the media
is really catching on, because it shows that we
really are behind our troops... and I love that.
TV HOSTESS:... but you have now
traveled to sing at all of these big
Games in all the states, and you are wrapping it up tonight
right here in Nashville. JANINE: Yeah. I'm so excited...
#50! RADIO HOSTESS: I know. How are you feeling? I mean
are you feeling, your like, probably a little bit of
relief that this is it? JANINE: Sentimental. I
was even awarded the flag of Tennessee by the
Governor's office.
OFFICIAL: This is to certify that the
accompanying flag of the state of Tennessee
...this flag that I'm holding...
has been flown over
The Tennessee state capitol for
you, Janine stange. JANINE: Aww.
JANINE: I was so busy,
that what was about to happen hadn't
really registered yet.
I just told myself this was like
every other state so things would
feel as normal as possible. After
a full day of promoting,
I was all ready to take my
last trip to the middle
of a field to sing our
anthem in my 50th state.
Did I mention there was not
a cloud in the sky all day?
RADIO VOICE #1: Currently, it's 85 degrees. Clear
skies expected to continue into this evening...
RADIO VOICE #2: Your Nashville weather
today: Clear, dry and plenty of sunshine...
RADIO VOICE #3: If you're heading out to LP tonight
to see The Titans face The Vikings, it's going to
be a hot one. Clear skies in the forecast...
JANINE: When I went down for sound
check, everything was clear...
but then, as I stood on the
sideline, minutes before I was
scheduled to sing,
storm clouds rolled over... then,
a few raindrops... (THUNDER CLAP)
can you see, by the dawn's
Early light, what so
Proudly we hailed...
JANINE: ...And by the 2nd or 3rd line of the song,
JANINE: I was in a monsoon-type downpour.
I did not see that coming.
But you know what? At that
point, it didn't really matter.
Despite the fact that I was literally
getting drenched and fighting the
wind to keep the hair out of my face,
I knew that my mission was accomplished.
Two years
ago, when I started this
journey, never did I imagine
it would be such a life-changing experience.
(JANINE SINGS) ...o'er the land
Of the free
And the home
Of the brave
SOUND MAN: Wonderful job!
JANINE: Thank you.
FOOTBALL PLAYER: You're a trooper!
JANINE: Thank you!
JANINE: That morning, in Nashville,
I was getting ready for my first
interview, doing my hair, and I prayed to God
and I said, "Please let my mom know
that I finished." Some photographs came
out from those moments, with the rain
suspended all around me.
Someone posted a comment, saying,
'The raindrops were tears of joy
from Heaven.' I'd like to
think they were my mom...
wanting me to know she had gotten my message.
Oh, say, can you see,
by the dawn's early
Light, what so proudly
We hailed at the twilight's
last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight
O'er the ramparts we
Watched were so gallantly
Streaming. And the rocket's
Red glare, the bombs
Bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that
Star spangled banner
Yet wave,
O'er the land of the
Free and the
Home of the
JANINE: I guess it would
be important to tell you
what I did on The National
Anthem's 200th Anniversary,
which was September 14th, 2014.
They wanted me to sing
at Fort McHenry.
I got to sing The National Anthem
at The Star Spangled Buoy in the eyeline
of where Francis Scott Key
was looking when he saw
our flag was still there, 200 years
to the day.
CAROLYN BLASHEK: introduce to
you, no surprise that her name is,
'The National Anthem Girl', Janine Stange.
JANINE: I hope when people see
this, and realize how crazy and how
fun, and how emotional this journey
was, that they'll look at themselves
and say, "What can I do?"
Because, you're never too young to make a difference.
You're never too old to make a difference.
You just have to start where you are.
You have to do what you can,
with what you have, from where you are.
JANINE: It's been an amazing journey,
and I'm so happy that I got to do this.
It's been an honor.
And... all 50.
JANINE: God bless America.