Long before her personal and professional crises that stained the last several years of her life, she delighted and moved live and television audiences with her heartfelt rendition of The Star Spangled Banner moments before the kickoff of Super Bowl XXV in 1991. For a country facing war for the first time in a generation, the first Gulf War, her genuine performance of our National Anthem stirred feelings of pride and renewal for many Americans. As a cynical 14-year-old I remember being moved to tears and buying a recording of the performance as soon as I could find one.
Here is a video of that breathtaking performance:
It is particularly poignant that the news of her death comes on the eve of the Grammy Awards, a ceremony she dominated for much of the ‘80s and ‘90s. I’m sure that the music industry will be able to pull together to make a fitting tribute.
Rest in peace, Whitney. Hopefully you will now find the peace that sometimes eluded you in life.