Houston took those emotions and wrapped them in a voice that no one who heard it that day would ever forget. In two minutes, she took the anthem and turned it into a mini-opera, asking us – the listeners and viewers – to carefully reconsider each word. She began with strength and dignity, the power in her voice undeniable. Then, on the words “whose broad stripes and bright stars,” she dropped her voice, dragging slightly behind the tempo, as if lost in a reverie: the flag, appearing dream-like amid the carnage of war. It was a set-up for the rest of the song, a prelude to the inevitable triumphant finish. But even here, Houston never appeared to be straining or show-boating.