A 34-year-old assistant principal from Tallahassee, Florida has turned into an overnight sensation after a video of her singing a moving rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Lincoln Memorial went viral on Facebook.
Star Swain was visiting Washington D.C. with relatives and friends from her church when they reportedly noticed the Lincoln Memorial’s impressive acoustics. After Swain joked that it would be a good place to sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” her friends urged her to give it a shot. A friend flipped on a camera, and the rest was history.
At the beginning of the video, Swain nervously paces around a wing of the monument, repeatedly saying “I’m scared.” Finally, after a bit of encouragement from her friends, she closes her eyes and begins to sing.
At first, tourists mill around her, but as she continues singing, a crowd begins to gather, eventually applauding loudly as Swain finishes the tune. Several people approach her after the video, giving her hugs and high-fives.
Since the June 16 performance, there’s been an outpouring of positive response to Swain’s song on social media. After the clip was posted and reposted on Facebook and YouTube, the video of the performance went viral, garnering worldwide media coverage and drawing comparisons to singer Marian Anderson’s singing of “My Country ’Tis of Thee” at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, a seminal moment in the civil rights struggle.
As of today, the video has been viewed nearly 500,000 times on YouTube and has more than 5.5 million views on Facebook.
“I am so wonderfully overwhelmed by the love and support shown by millions of people all over the nation and world,” Swain wrote in a Facebook post. “It means so much, [and] I look forward to hearing from all of you!”
This morning, Swain even made her national television debut, performing the National Anthem on “Good Morning America." Swain, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in education and sings in her church choir, said the video may lead her to pursue singing professionally.