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After technical problems, crowd sings along to national anthem at high school graduation

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - The community of Limestone County, Alabama showed their patriotism last week when the sound went out during Marti McCrary's rendition of the national anthem at East Limestone High's graduation.

McCrary, who has sung the national anthem many times and performs throughout the community, loves singing. She said it's one of her biggest passions and she only gets nervous to sing that particular song.

"When it's one of my songs or when it's songs that others have written, I'm fine," she told WHNT. "But, when it's the national anthem, that's a big song. If you mess it up, everybody knows it."

She said, when she stood in front of everyone at the graduation, she wasn't feeling scared but her heart was racing. Still, she remembers it went well through the majority of the song.

"That was probably the best performance I've had so far with that one," she said, "until the mic cut out."

As McCrary worked to close the song, she was no longer audible.

She takes us through the moment: "I was just like, oh, great. That's awesome," she said. "But, everybody just started singing immediately."

The crowd, without missing a beat, began singing all around her. They picked up the song right where she left off and carried it to the end.

"I will never forget it. I mean, it was immediately after the mic cut out, they all started singing. It was so amazing," she said. "I was scared after it cut out because I thought I was going to have to sing by myself, and I was going to have to go through this alone, but everybody started singing and it made my heart melt because it was so sweet. It made me proud."

One graduate who was in the audience said he stood ready to jump in.

"It's natural for me, every time I hear that song, I'm always singing it. I was singing it with her. And, when the mic cut out, I was right there with her," said Andrew Duffield. "I was singing it along from there."

But, another graduate had a different reaction.

"I started looking around like where did this come from? It shocked me," said Chris Stegall. "I felt proud to be an American, like there is still hope."

That seems to be a common sentiment. Some on social media said the moment gave them chills.

Others said it was a moment of unity.

"I want them to see that our school cares and that our school is a community," McCrary said.

"It just shows how strong our community is and how strong that song is to the nation," Duffield said. "That one song, it doesn't matter who you are or what you do, that song will always bring people together."

Video of the moment has since gone viral.

McCrary said she is pleased with the reaction. Even though she never got to finish her performance with a working mic, McCrary said of the audio error: "I think that made it all the better."