(Miami-AP) April 28, 2006 - Immigrants say they want to honor their new country in their native language. Their critics say singing the US national anthem in Spanish is an insult.
For many Hispanic listeners in the Midlands, Ritmo 1170AM is an important voice in the community. Friday afternoon, its airwaves played the familiar song with a new twist.
The track "Nuestro Himno," which means "Our Hymn," was out Friday, featuring artists including Wyclef Jean, hip-hop's Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon.
Ritmo programming director Stephanie Lopez thinks it will be a hit with Hispanic listeners, "It makes you want to cry when you hear it in Spanish."
"To express that in a song that means so much to the American people. It will start to mean more to the Hispanic community by embracing everyone."
But there are critics of the tune. The head of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which supports tougher measures against immigrants, asks if France would accept its anthem sung in English "as a sign of French patriotism." He says, "Of course not."
A British music producer says he came up with the idea to honor millions of immigrants seeking a better life in America. He says the song's "intent is to communicate."
Lopez says the message of pride, patriotic spirit and hope are not lost in the translation and that "it will mean more for Hispanics in Spanish."
Reported by Tamara King with AP
Updated 7:12pm by Bryce Mursch