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‘God, Country, Notre Dame‘

| Thursday, September 10, 2015

How ironic that on the day Fr. Hesburgh and God, Country, Notre Dame are honored in the “What Would You Fight For” television segment during the halftime of the Texas game, the outward manifestation of God, Country, Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium should be eliminated from the Notre Dame band’s pre-game performance. I am speaking of the playing of “America the Beautiful,” recitation of the Preamble of the Constitution and excerpts from the Declaration of Independence. These have been a staple of the Notre Dame pre-game since 1964, 51 football seasons. They were eliminated because of an NCAA rule change allowing the teams more warm-up time before kickoff. Maybe two verses of “America the Beautiful” take up too much time, but the recitation of a few sentences? Surely the athletic department and the band can find a way to fit this in.

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

“ … We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. … And for the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Jack Fremeau

class of 1971

Sept. 8

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • what no really

    People choose such strange, inconsequential things to get upset about.

    • Johnny Whichard

      It’s pretty consequential….Notre Dame seems to be trying to crush as many traditions as possible lately…

      • what no really

        I can’t think of many things that are less consequential than this. What is the consequence of the band not playing God Bless America before a football game?

        • ramsj

          To what no really, so what is something of consequence? Should they also stop singing the National Anthem? the Fight Song? the Alma Mater? Presenting the flag?

          • what no really

            eh, I’d argue that the fight song and alma mater are of some consequence to the football team. But if they stopped doing either I can’t say I’d care too much.

          • MG

            I think reading the Preamble as America the Beautiful (not God Bless America…second rate compared to America the Beautiful) is played is one of the most stirring traditions at Notre Dame. I gave my tickets to a friend who took her son to the game. I told her about America the Beautiful and how long ND has been doing it. I’m very disappointed to hear that it has been stopped. I think this decision ought to be revisited.

      • JD

        Yeah, like losing to underpowered teams.

  • Mike Past

    Does the playing of America the Beautiful solve world hunger? No. Neither do any of the other football traditions that we have. The singing of America the Beautiful is unique to Notre Dame and it brings all fans together as we remember there are more important things in life than the game; like God and Country. Let’s hope the University can find a way to restore this great tradition.

  • Mike R

    The band’s pregame show has been getting progressively shorter every year since Brian Kelly came to ND. I wonder if other college marching bands have been as affected by this rule change and I hope it doesn’t lead to even less time for the band. As a former band member I know I’m incredibly biased but band pregame shows are one of my favorite college football traditions and it’s a great way to pump up the crowd and bring everyone together.

    • JD

      It doesn’t really have much to do with BK. He’s not in charge of that stuff. It’s the NCAA, and Swarbrick trying to figure out how to work with the NCAA’s requirements.

      • Mike R

        I openly admit I have no idea how decisions are made at the University or the NCAA. It’s just a bit disappointing to see one of my favorite parts of gameday get smaller every year.

  • ramsj

    Jack, thanks for the article, agree the University should re-instate this tradition, it gives those in attendance a sense of belonging to something bigger than a football game on a Saturday.

  • Michael Collins

    Nothing is stopping the student section and fans in general from singing America the Beautiful at some point. Maybe some students can start it up.

  • JL

    Here’s the real scoop. This season, the NCAA capped the amount of time a team can spend in the locker room before the game. Since this time is when the band does their pregame show, they were forced to cut their show to fit the new window. I don’t think anyone wanted to see America the Beautiful go, and I hope they can find time somewhere so this tradition isn’t lost.