The American football championship, known as the Super Bowl, is an annual event that has become a worldwide entertainment spectacle. The halftime show and commercials are as widely anticipated as the event itself. But there was one performance over 30 years ago that changed the pre-game show forever and also distilled America’s national mood into a singular show of patriotism the likes of which had not been seen since the end of World War II.

The 1991 Super Bowl was held on January 27, just ten days after the beginning of the Persian Gulf War. The U.S. entry into that conflict was itself an unprecedented event, with the aerial assault on Baghdad being shown live on TV and watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Immediately before the start of the game in Tampa Bay, Florida, Whitney Houston stepped up to the microphone to sing the U.S. National Anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner,” in front of 73,000 fans and 750 million global viewers. And no pre-game show would be the same after that.

Whitney was at her peak in 1991, easily one of the most recognizable and popular singers in the world. And this performance, perhaps more than any other, cemented her position as a superstar.

While Whitney herself was able to smile and wave during the performance, there were thousands weeping with the pure emotion of the moment throughout the stadium, and probably millions more at home.

Looking back on that moment, it’s stands as a singular event for two reasons. First, the glorious voice of Whitney Houston was so sadly lost to us forever in 2012. Second, the patriotism and solidarity of the U.S. people in that moment has not been equaled since.

Watch the amazing performance below and please leave us a Facebook comment to let us know what you thought!

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