Florida's State Song and Anthem

Yes, Florida is special. We have 2 songs!
Patti Jewel
Florida State Songs

Ever since I was a small child, I remember singing the song "Suwannee River". I'm not sure if it was just part of the culture where I grew up in Florida, though it was no where near the Suwannee River, or a song we sang at school. I never really paid attention to the lyrics, truly, the only words I remember are "way down upon the Suwannee River... la la la la.... that's where my heart is turning ever, la la la la la la." And of course the chorus "All the world is sad and dreary everywhere I roam. How my heart grows weary, far from the old folks at home."

In 2007, it was agreed that the State Song should be changed because some of the lyrics were offensive. Another song was chosen, but then because so many were wanting the old song to stay, the decision was made to keep both, changing some of the lyrics in original State Song, Suwannee River (Old Folks at Home) to remove any reference to offensive connotations and keeping the new one as the Florida Anthem. 

I am always torn in decisions like this because personally, I do not think we should stay attached to a song just because it was the first song chosen by Florida decision makers over 75 years ago. The writer of the song did not even visit Florida, he just wrote the song and needed a river name and after his brother referenced an Atlas, he decided on the Suwannee River as the reference in the lyrics. So, personally, even though I grew up singing the song, I did think it was time for a new one. 

That being said, I am not crazy about the new selected anthem. It, for sure, is an anthem type song. It has all the parts and musicality that makes it sound like an anthem. But no one I know says "Flor-i-da" as the song separates out the consonants and emphasizes the "i". It just doesn't sit well with me as a native Floridian. In addition, it doesn't touch on all of the features of our beautiful state. But for now, we have these 2 songs that represent our State.