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(Letter) Patriotic Anthems Compared: China's "God Bless America"

Someone had mentioned the significance of a patriotic anthem “歌唱祖国” performed during the Olympics opening ceremony. Had to look it up since it is completely foreign to me. It’s also commented that it is the equivalent of “God Bless America”, a patriotic anthem that’s well ingrained with most Americans.

When compared it seems the lyrics are similar. For example both mention majestic land, and a preeminence (God and Mao, respectively). There are also differences, for example individual vs. collective references. But I can imagine a Chinese, upon hearing their anthem, well up with range of emotions about their country, good and bad, happy and sad. I also know it’s not a bad thing; I too feel that when I hear God Bless America.

Here’re my poor attempt to translate these two patriotic anthems:

God Bless America (主佑美国)
God Bless America,
主佑美国
Land that I love.
我爱之地
Stand beside her, and guide her
站在她旁, 引导她
Thru the night with a light from above.
依上天的光来通过黑暗的地方
From the mountains, to the prairies,
从高山,到草原
To the oceans, white with foam
到白泡沫的海洋
God bless America, My home sweet home.
主佑美国,我甜美的家

歌唱祖国 (Ode to China)
歌唱我们亲爱的祖国,
Ode to our beloved homeland
从今走向繁荣富强!
towards prosperity from now on

越过高山,越过平原,
Across the mountains, Across the plains
跨过奔腾的黄河长江;
Across the roaring rivers
宽广美丽的土地, 是我们亲爱的家乡.
Vast and beautiful land, our beloved hometown
英雄的人民站起来了!
Heroic people stand up
我们团结友爱坚强如钢!
Our resolve is strong as steel

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  1. BMY
    August 15th, 2008 at 01:05 | #1

    They are almost the same

  2. DJ
    August 15th, 2008 at 01:50 | #2

    Charles Liu,

    I was a bit puzzled with the word “Athens” in your title at first. 🙂 Anyway, it is corrected.

  3. Nimrod
    August 18th, 2008 at 05:11 | #3

    For example both mention majestic land, and a preeminence (God and Mao, respectively).

    +++++
    Um, where does the Chinese song mention Mao?

  4. Charles Liu
    August 19th, 2008 at 00:26 | #4

    Um yeah, it’s in one of the verse I didn’t translate; Ode To Homeland[China] was actually very long.

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