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.
We've compiled a list of 9 of the most memorable performances ever recorded. Grab a tissue and take a look:
8. G. Star Swain at the Lincoln Memorial in 2016
Swain, her family and her church's minister of music, Marcus Henderson, were visiting the Lincoln Memorial in June 2016. Henderson noted the memorial's acoustic potential, and Swain, initially nervous, began to sing the national anthem. The result was an impromptu recital that became a viral sensation.
7. 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.)
6. 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.)
5. 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.
4. 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.
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.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information since it was originally published in January 2014.