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Column: Target Field performance brings heartwarming feeling

Worthington High School choir members are shown on the Target Field scoreboard. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNE FOLEY)

WORTHINGTON — Two years ago, on a chilly April day, my choir-peers and I had a rare chance to sing the national anthem at the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays game. That year, we didn’t sing the United States anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” even though we all had hoped we would. We were tasked with singing “O Canada” for our Toronto friends up north. We all enjoyed it, but we were somewhat disappointed with not being able to sing our own country’s anthem.

This year, on Memorial Day, we made the trek back up to Minneapolis and Target Field, this time to sing the “right” anthem. At first, I was expecting a similar experience like two years prior. I was excited, sure, but I didn’t expect it to be a heart-stopping moment. We’ve sang that song countless times as a choir. We all know the words and notes back to front, inside and out. Sometimes when a song gets to that point, it becomes almost meaningless — it loses the passion and pride it once had.

As we stepped on to Target Field’s warning track, I got to thinking. Today felt different. But how could that be? I then realized something that I think everyone singing collectively realized together on the first beat of the anthem. It was different, because it was Memorial Day. We weren’t just singing before a baseball game, we were singing for America and everything that entails. We were singing for our soldiers, our leaders, for our friends, our neighbors,and for every fellow American. We were singing to recognize the right we have to sing, and to be thankful for that. That might sound a bit cheesy, and it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe.

As we left the field and took our seats for the game, that feeling didn’t dissipate. A 96-year-old veteran raised the flag, there was a moment of silence for our veterans and for our soldiers currently serving, a young man gave a show-stopping performance of “God Bless America,” and we got to watch a game of our national pastime.

As we were sitting in the hot sun eating our $10 burgers, sipping our $5 water bottles and watching the Twins lose their fourth in a row, I could tell no one was disappointed in their day this year. I started thinking again, and I believe we all felt content with our day because of our performance of the anthem.

We came back to Worthington, and as I got home, I saw that there was a video posted of us singing earlier that day. I watched it a couple of times, and at that moment I realized we all felt that feeling.

If we hadn’t felt it, we couldn’t have sounded that good.

Alex Purdy is a 2014 graduate of Worthington High School and will attend South Dakota State University in the fall. He is the Daily Globe’s summer intern.