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US State Songs
US State Songs

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Florida State Anthem

"Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky "

Words & Lyrics by Jan Hinton

Adopted in 1985.

The song "Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky," music and lyrics written by Jan Hinton, is designated as the official anthem of the State of Florida.

Florida State Anthem: "Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky "

"Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky "

 Florida, land of flowers, land of light,
Florida, where our dreams can all take flight,
Whether youth's vibrant morning or the twilight of years,
There are treasures for all who venture here - in Florida.

Mocking birds cry and 'gators lie out in the sun
Bridges span southward to the Keys
and rockets skyward run,
The orange blossoms' sweet perfume
and fireworks fill the air,
and cultures rich, our native people share.

Florida, where the sawgrass meets the sky,
Florida, where our hearts will ever lie,
Sitting proud in the ocean like a sentinel true,
Always shielding your own yet giving welcome.

Florida, land of flowers, land of light,
Florida, where our dreams can all take flight,
Whether youth's vibrant morning or the twilight of years,
There are treasures for all who venture here
in Florida, Florida.
Florida, where our hearts will ever lie

Origin of Song: Florida, "Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky"

In 2007, Charlie Crist refused to allow "Old Folks at Home" to be played at his gubernatorial inauguration, opting for a less controversial and more contemporary piece. He encouraged state Senator Tony Hill, who was the leader of the legislature's Black Caucus, to find a new song. Hill joined forces with state Representative Ed Homan and the Florida Music Educators Association to sponsor a contest for a new state song.

The contest received 243 submissions. After narrowing the field down to three finalists, the nominees were voted upon by the general public at a site set up specifically for the contest. "Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky)", composed by Briton Jan Hinton, received more than half of all of the votes cast. Ironically, neither Foster nor Hinton were Florida natives, but Hinton lived in Florida while Foster never visited the state whose official song he wrote. Hinton had emigrated to Florida a dozen years before she wrote "Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky). Senator Hill introduced SB 1558, which would designate Hinton's contribution as the new state song.

However, similar to the response in 1997, the bill met opposition from northern Florida historians who felt that the new song denied Florida's heritage. Senator Nancy Argenziano stated "A lot of people have expressed to me they don't agree with the old lyrics which we don't use anymore. But Suwannee River is a big part of Florida. While the old lyrics are very objectionable, they haven't been used. I'm trying to listen to my constituents and they really believe you shouldn't change that song. So I have a hard time with that one." Senator Jim King suggested a compromise, in which "Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky)" was designated as the State Anthem, and a Bowdlerized version of "Old Folks at Home" remained as the state song. The new lyrics of "Old Folks at Home" were approved by scholars at the Stephen Foster Memorial at the University of Pittsburgh. Governor Crist stated that he was not pleased by the "two songs" decision, but signed the bill, creating a new state anthem and establishing the reworded version of "Old Folks at Home" as the State Song under state statute, rather than by resolution, like the 1935 decision

Florida Law

The law designating the song  "Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky," as the official Florida state athem is found in the Florida Revised Statutes, Title 2, Chapter 10.

TITLE IV. EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Chapter 15. SECRETARY OF STATE
Section 15.0326

15.0326 State anthem.--The song "Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky," music and lyrics written by Jan Hinton, is designated as the official anthem of the State of Florida.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2008-233.

State Songs
US State Songs
Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state.
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