Before every sporting event in the nation, we pause as Americans to sing our national anthem. Sometimes it's played on a recording. Sometimes it is sung live. But whether it is sung by a celebrity (who can forget Whitney Houston's rendition?) or a boy from down the street, it almost never fails to make tears well up in my eyes.
10. Alicia Keys at the 2013 Super Bowl
Did anyone not get chills when Alicia Keys sang and played this rendition of the national anthem at last year's Super Bowl? Yeah, I didn't think so. A beautiful, classy performance.
9. Marc Anthony at Game 6 NBA Finals Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks
Lots of folks sing the national anthem — and lots of folks sing it well. But Marc Anthony brought a passion to this performance that landed him a spot on this list as one of the most inspiring performances of the national anthem ever recorded.
8. U.S. Military Academy choirs at the 2005 Super Bowl
No superstars here. Just some amazingly beautiful voices singing an unforgettable performance of the national anthem. I love the reaction from the crowd and players as the song ends with a military fly-by (around 1:57.)
7. Autistic man sings at Fenway Park for Disability Awareness Day
I don't know the name of this very brave man, but I do know that his performance of the national anthem at Fenway Park was chock full of emotion. Watch what happens when he falters a bit around 0:53. (Don't worry. It's good stuff.)
6. Talina Toscano at Citi Field
Pop singer Talina Toscano was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and a half. But she hasn't let that stop her from following her dreams. And you'll see why those dreams are coming true as you watch her perform this rendition of the national anthem before a Mets game to promote Autism Awareness.
5. Jim Cornelison at Soldier Field on 9/11/11
If you're not from Chicago, you may not have heard of Jim Cornelison, the tenor who frequently sings the national anthem at home games for the Chicago Blackhawks. Watch his amazing performance of the national anthem at Soldier Field for the Chicago Bears game on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and you will never forget him.
4. NHL All-Star Game 1991
This game occurred shortly after the beginning of the Gulf War. Emotions were high and you can see it in every face in the crowd. I included this performance not so much for the rendition of the anthem, but for the incredible reaction from the crowd as it played. From start to finish, patriotism was high that day.
3. Boston Bruins fans after Boston Marathon attacks
This hockey game took place just a few days after bombs ripped through the running community, the city of Boston, and the country in April 2013. Rene Rancourt was doing a fine job of singing the national anthem — but it takes an amazing performer to realize when it's time to step aside and let the audience lead the way.
2. 16-year-old Marlana VanHoose
Blind since birth, Marlana VanHoose could not see the fans in the stadium. But that didn't stop her from belting out this spine-tingling version of the national anthem before the Kentucky vs. Ole Miss women's game a few years ago.
1. Port Authority Police, NYPD, and FDNY Pipes and Drum Band; Lady Antebellum at MetLife Field on 9/11/11
This is another performance of the national anthem marking the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. This time, the song was sung at MetLife field in New York, and the entire tribute is amazing. From the introduction by Robert De Niro, to the lone bugler playing taps, to the pipe and drum band playing "Amazing Grace" to the national anthem sung by Lady Antebellum, this performance of the national anthem tops the list.
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