Robert DeMayo – The Star Spangled Banner

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

An evening pause: DeMayo does not sing the anthem, but interprets it using American Sign language. I am posting this now, in defiance of the new NFL season, with its spoiled million dollar football players spitting on this country and its freedoms that made them rich.

Stay with it. If you watch closely you will begin to understand the sign language, and the power of the song’s words will then start to hit you, in a new way.

Hat tip Wayne DeVette.


My July fund-raiser for Behind the Black is now over. The support from my readers was unprecedented, making this July campaign the best ever, twice over. What a marvelous way to celebrate the website's tenth anniversary!

Thank you! The number of donations in July, and continuing now at the beginning of August, is too many for me to thank you all personally. Please forgive me by accepting my thank you here, in public, on the website.

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  • raymond

    Thank you sir very moving ,i’m still blinking back tears .

  • OM

    Those football players should be thrown in jail for what they’re doing! Anybody who defies the flag like that does not deserve their freedom!

  • Om wrote, “Those football players should be thrown in jail for what they’re doing!”

    Really? By what law? What crime have they committed? Are you saying you want to deny them their first amendment rights to free speech, merely because you disagree?

    What they are doing is despicable, and it is important that as many people tell them so as possible. At the same time, as long as their employer has no problem with their behavior on the job, they have the right to do it. We should also tell that employer what we think of them as well. It would be wholly proper if NFL ratings and income continue to drop.

    The answer is always more speech, not a gulag of imprisonment.

  • OM

    Swear allegiance to the government or suffer the consequences.

  • wayne

    You might like the accompanying back-ground video from DeMayo:

    “The Star Spangled Banner”
    Robert DeMayo explains the conceptually accurate translation

    American Sign Language (ASL) is it’s own distinct language with particular Verb & Noun forms, and word order.

  • Kirk

    While on the subject of the flag, the third trailer for First Man is out. I just watched it, curious to see if they might be including more flags in response to the controversy. It does appear that flags are shown more prominently in this trailer, but it doesn’t seem at all forced or artificial.

    The previous two trailers (released before the controversy erupted) included flags on the Gemini space suits, the Apollo space suits, being raised on a pole attached to Armstrong’s house, on a flag pole at a cemetery following services for the Apollo 1 astronauts, and on the wall behind Armstrong at a press conference. They did show astronauts in their blue flight suits without flags on their left shoulders, but that is historically accurate. (As noted in the earlier thread, while NASA later put flags on the left shoulders of flight suites, it was not done in that era, even for those blue flight suits worn during public appearances, such as when the Apollo 13 crew received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Nixon.)

    This new trailer has all those scenes, plus it ends on a still showing the lander on the surface of the Moon with the flag planted in front of it. The flags in the other scenes are shown more prominently than before, but it is not blatantly obvious that this was done intentionally and isn’t just because this trailer doesn’t concentrate on the conflict with Janet Armstrong but instead shows more scenes from the missions, particular during periods where the astronauts are wearing their space suits (such as boarding the capsule and during launch) with the colorful flags standing out prominently against the white of the suits, especially highlighted where these scenes (at least those which are in the trailer) are shot from the astronauts’ left. So they certainly didn’t stage all the scenes to minimize appearances of the flag, as those scenes could have equally been shot from the right.

    An extra second or so was shown of the flag raising scene, revealing that it raised by a young boy, probably Armstrong’s son. The audio is entirely excerpts from President Kennedy’s 25 May 1961 address to congress and his 12 September 1962 speech at Rice University, all until the final seconds when we get Armstrong’s words upon stepping on the Moon.

    The whole thing could be a seen as a patriotic rallying video, and this might have been done in response to the controversy, but given the subject matter, it doesn’t feel at all forced or unnatural.

  • Kirk

    And for what it’s worth, I missed a pair of flags. The flags on the S-IC first stage of the Saturn V booster are visible in a shot from the VAB, but with the stage backlit, they are hard to make out. As has been noted elsewhere, those flags were not visible during launch as they were covered in frost from the LOX tank. (I’ve yet to hear anyone claim that NASA intentionally chose that placement to obscure them.)

  • Edward

    YouTube offered me Robert DeMayo’s explanation of his translation into ASL. Since a couple of my grandparents were deaf, this topic interests me. (Because they died when I was too young to have learned much, I do not sign and do not remember much of the alphabet.) (7 minutes)

    I have a similar problem every time I pay too close attention to the anthem’s words, which is almost every time I hear it.

    OM wrote: “Swear allegiance to the government or suffer the consequences.

    Since this is a country of We the People and not of They the Government, I would prefer that allegiance is to the republic, that We the People created long ago to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity“, and to the people of that republic. Even back then, the Founders understood that governments become tyrannical, as ours is doing now, which is why they stated that it is the right of the people to reject that government. I do not want to pledge my allegiance to any government who requires us to swear allegiance to it.

    Where is the liberty in that?

    The flag does not represent the U.S. government but the country, her people, and all she stands for:
    I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.

    I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.

    I am with Robert on this. Ironical as it is, the hypocritical football players should have the liberty to disrespect the country, flag, and people that protect their liberty to disrespect them. (Please note that the country does not give them that liberty, they always had it, but the government should not be allowed to interfere with that liberty, as stated in the First Amendment. On that path lies tyranny.)

    The rest of us should also have the liberty to express our disappointment of and our disgust at their bad behavior.

  • wayne

    good stuff! Glad you watched that backgrounder

    You might like this:
    ASL Sign for “Engineering”

  • wayne

    tangentially related….

    this is not any form of sign-language, it’s a guy flapping his hands around:

    Fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela memorial

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