My high school years were colored by the ADMU song, “Fly High, Blue Eagle, Fly…” But when I went to ADNU, I learned to love the hymn, “From Isarog to Bicol land to lofty Mayon Peak….” It crescendos with the profound words, “Regnum Dei (…the Kingdom of God) is our cry, our fame and glory too…”
These days, especially after all our recent celebrations of service, research and outreach, I have found myself humming, “Underneath the cloudless sky….” and committing it to memory. Its gentle, rolling melody hides its stirring message that climaxes, I think, in its moving exhortation for life, “Let all you knights of Davao to God’s high command your hearts bow…”
There is a problem, however, with our ADDU Blue Knight song, which we may wish to finally address during our current annual observance of “the Role of Women in History” this month. The song’s message is stirring, but written at a time when ADDU was exclusively for males, its language is terribly gender exclusive. First, originally medieval knights were only men. Chivalry did not picture women in armor with visors high and swords in hand, but as damsels in distress who called forth the gallantry and service of the knights. We could, however, argue that that was itself hopelessly male chauvinistic, and that there were such figures in history as the redoubtable lady, Joan of Arc. So, we could cure our Blue Knight song by simply defining knights as male and female. Further cures would have to be applied to the offensively gender-exclusive expressions: “Be men of virtue tried and true…” and “So grateful sons, spread o’er the land…”
These matters considered, what do you think of the following? I know I am sallying forth against a hallowed ADDU tradition here, but I am also sure that if Fr. James Donelan, S.J. would be asked to write the song again today, he would have been more gender sensitive.
Men and women Knights in Blue
For Christ, King, fight strong and true!
With flashing steel and ringing shield
Let us sweep our battlefield!
With visors high and swords in hand
Come Blue Knights take your stand!
Fight on with virtue, strength renewed
In Our Lady’s white and blue!
Let all you knights of Davao
To God’s high command your hearts bow.
Go onward on to the fight
Where glory is shining bright.
O shake the mountains with your song
And with your banners march along!
Onward, speed you gallant knights!
Trusting God proclaim your right!
The clash of battle is sweet to hear
When the victory is near.
So grateful knights spread o’er the land
To the farthest ocean strand.
With hearty song sing loud the fame
Of our Ateneo name.
We sacrifice here “the cloudless sky “ to climate change in gender sensitivity, and the “fluttering banners” for the image of Christ the King – so central to Ignatian spirituality! We sacrifice the “armor” for renewed strength inspired by Our Lady’s colors.
Perhaps, with these changes it would be easier for our female ADDU students, teachers, staffers, and alumnae to sing along, and less embarrassing for gender-sensitive males.
If we achieve consensus, we can formally change the lyrics.