Sunday, September 6, 2009


In Istanbul we lived on the Asian side of the city in an area called Goztepe. Directly across the street from our apartment was a very large park and at the far edge of the park an elementary school. Early each morning the children would gather in the park at the entrance to the school, all decked out in their school uniforms, and sing the Turkish National Anthem.

Our flat was on the 6th floor of the building overlooking the park, and each morning we heard the children sing. They were accompanied by a tape, so it was a very nice rendition of their National Anthem and we could hear it loud and clear. We lived in that apartment for almost two years, and we heard that tune enough that I could at least hum the melody along with them. Jerry, not being very musically inclined, was not particularly interested in the daily event, but I was quite taken with it. The little kids were so cute and so earnest.

Although I cannot now remember what the occasion was, one morning after the singing I could see the children all re-arranging themselves and suddenly the flag bearers stepped out in time to the music and they began marching along the paths in the park as if they were in a parade.

Next came a group of horn players. They didn't have instrumental horns but horns nevertheless that they quietly tooted in concert with the music and their marching. The boys got to play the horns.

Next came the lady drummers. There was not the noise one would expect to hear with that many drums but they certainly were doing quiet little rat-a-tat-tats.

It took several verses of the national anthem to get them around the route that had been selected for them. It was strange to be watching and not really understand what was going on, except that it was as much fun for me to watch them as it was for them to make a big parade! By the time the parade passed in front of our apartment and headed around the bend, all the residents of the apartments were out on their balconies watching the festivities - and you can be sure that we gave those children a standing ovation.

Things like this were one of the serendipities we had during our two years there in Istanbul. We didn't need to understand; it was enough to simply look, enjoy and applaud.

In 1993 we came home. Occasionally I would catch myself humming the Turkish National Anthem, which struck me funny because I don't believe ever in my whole life have I hummed The Star Spangled Banner. But the Turkish National Anthem is a march, and marches are made for humming along. I didn't have the Internet until 1997, so it took me that long to get accompaniment to my humming.

So I've provided you all with a lovely rendition found on YouTube. When I hear it I remember all those darling children in their special little parade. And when you hear it, you can listened for my humming!

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