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We were invited to see México en el Corazón last night with some friends. We drove up to Seattle, found some parking, and had margaritas (naturally).

We walked to the Paramount theater and took seats on an upper balcony.

The Mexican and American flags stood on the stage. The house lights went down and two women appeared on stage, standing next to each flag. First the Mexican national anthem was sung. The crowd knows the words and they sing along. The song seems somber and restrained. Passionate but serious. The crowd is appropriately passionate but serious.

Then the American national anthem was sung. Everyone knows (most of) the words, but no one sings along. We all wait for that important high note at “the land of the free”. Everyone cheers at this moment while the note is held as long as possible.

The anthems are done, everyone cheers, and the curtain raises. The young woman who sang the American national anthem, dressed in black, runs back to the stage to take up her violin and giant hat. She plays violin with the opening Mariachi orchestra.