Almost every morning my wife and I hear a loud speaker play a short recording of the national anthem at 8:00 a.m. This has been going on for a number of years and we have often speculated about where the loud speaker might be located. We hear it in Colonial Place, one block in from the main body of the Lafayette River.
Other people in the neighborhood hear the recording, too, but no one seems to know where it comes from or who plays it. Our only clue is that the recording is the exact same one the U.S. Navy plays for “Colors” every morning which I have heard on Naval bases.
Over the last couple of weeks my wife and I have been trying to find the origin by driving to spots where we think the song will be louder, hoping to figure out the direction to the source. The most promising listening spots — the ODU campus because of the ROTC program there and the NAVFAC facility at the foot of the Hampton Blvd. bridge — proved unhelpful. We didn’t hear the anthem at all.
Sometimes the recording is loud and distinct, as if it were playing only a block or two away from our house. Sometimes it is so faint we can barely make it out. This suggests to us that the source is far away and weather conditions affect how well we hear it.
Naval Station Norfolk is about four miles from us as the crow flies, and there is an expansive, though circuitous, route for sound to travel up the Elizabeth and Lafayette Rivers to our neighborhood. Also, we know that the Navy upgraded the public address system on base to a “Giant Voice” system that is used to play the National Anthem for morning Colors. Portsmouth Naval Hospital is another possible source with similar parameters, but in the opposite direction.
There are some non-trivial aspects to solving the mystery. For example, if we go to a listening spot away from our home, then we can’t be sure the sound we hear is the same sound we would hear at home. Similarly, just knowing that the Navy plays Colors at 8:00 a.m. doesn’t prove that the Navy is the source.
Any thoughts? Does anyone else hear the anthem where they live?