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Tags: Tom Harkin | national anthem | star-spangled banner | American the beautiful

Tom Harkin's Last Hurrah: Change Our National Anthem

Tom Harkin's Last Hurrah: Change Our National Anthem
(Kevin Dietsch/UPI /Landov)

Friday, 19 December 2014 02:07 PM EST

Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin spent his final hours in Congress getting his pet peeve off his chest the national anthem.

As he bade farewell to Capitol Hill, the Iowa senator introduced a bill that he hoped would replace the "Star Spangled Banner" with "America the Beautiful."

"It is on an issue I have long wanted to tackle, changing our national anthem to one I believe is more representative of the amazing country and people that make up our United States of America," Harkin said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

Harkin, whose most notable achievement was crafting the American Disabilities Act, expressed his dismay that the anthem doesn’t mention the word "America" and it is "hard as heck for layperson to sing."

While admitting that bill had virtually no chance of being passed, he asked "those who follow me to keep in mind the importance of symbols like the national anthem in reminding us what is great about this country equality of opportunity, geographic diversity and majesty, shared commitment to individual liberty and give serious thought to this proposal."

Harkin, 75, whose late brother was deaf, taught those who showed up to listen to his farewell speech how to sign "America," according to the Post.

"Might I teach it to you?" Harkin asked as he intertwined his hands. "Take your hands and put them together like this. It looks like an A when you do that. And move it in a circle in front of your body. That’s it, pages. You got it. This is the sign for America."

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Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin spent his final hours in Congress getting his pet peeve off his chest - the national anthem.
Tom Harkin, national anthem, star-spangled banner, American the beautiful
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2014-07-19
Friday, 19 December 2014 02:07 PM
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