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Posted: 9/14/2004 1:27:20 AM EDT

Mexicans Plan Global Anthem Sing-Along

UPDATED - Monday September 13, 2004 11:24am

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Yet most Mexicans seemed to like the idea. Mexico is a strongly patriotic country that celebrates everything from its 1917 Constitution (Feb. 5) to its 1910 revolution (Nov. 20). Sept. 16, which marks Mexico's 1810 independence from Spain, is perhaps the most patriotic of all holidays. This is the time of year when Mexicans dine on chilies in nogada - stuffed green chilis decorated with a white sauce and pomegranates, reflecting the country's colors: red, white and green. Flag sellers flood the streets, pushing carts packed with patriotic knicknacks.

On Sept. 15, the eve of the independence, thousands flock to Mexico City's main square, shouting "Viva Mexico!" with the president.

While Mexico's government isn't sponsoring the anthem campaign, Salas said it was involved in the planning, and government officials said they supported the idea. Officials hope to take the song beyond Mexico's borders.

Television commercials promoting the campaign show a man on what appears to be a long, international flight unfolding himself from his seat, rubbing sleep from his eyes, and then solemnly singing the national anthem in the plane's aisle, despite the quizzical looks of other passengers.

A flight attendant stands behind him, politely waiting for the song to finish.

Daytime variety shows have featured school children singing the anthem, often off-key. And radio spots urge everyone to participate, arguing the song sounds better with hundreds of thousands of voices.

Raul Garcia, a 31-year-old telecommunications equipment producer, said he planned to belt out the anthem Wednesday "with strength and gusto."

"I like anything that has to do with Mexican traditions," he said.

But he also hoped to see other Mexicans join in, a sign he said would show that the country hadn't lost its friendly nature.

Garcia worries that bickering political parties, widespread kidnappings and lingering corruption have hardened and divided a nation known for the saying "Mi casa es su casa," or "My house is your house."

The anthem itself isn't without its controversy. Several years back, there were reports that at least part of the song was owned by a U.S. entity. Current government officials could not confirm who had the rights to the song.

Written by a Mexican native, Francisco Gonzalez Bocanegra, a Spaniard by birth, Jaime Nuno, came up with the score.

There is also a question about whether Mexicans, required to sing the song every Monday morning as schoolchildren, know all the words.

Ricardo Coria, a 34-year-old office worker, said he doubted most know more than the chorus. But he planned to join in anyway.

"We've lost a lot of our nationalism," he said, crossing the street as the national hymn was played on loudspeakers during a ceremony at Mexico City's Independence Angel Monument.

He blamed the growing foreign influence in Mexico, and motioned to U.S. company signs ringing the monument, including Sheraton International and American Express.

"Soon, they'll be tacking signs to the base of the Angel," he sai
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 1:52:52 AM EDT
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