I've been noticing that fewer people are pronouncing "the" the way they taught us back in radio school. There are two different ways to say "the." One is the regular "the" that rhymes with "duh," and the other has a long "ee" sound. For this blog, I'll call them "thuh" and "thee."
Until recently, if "the" was before a vowel sound, it was always pronounced "thee." That's why The Beatles sang "And in thee end..." and why Neil Armstrong said "thee Eagle has landed!" and "Oh, my God, thee aliens were here first! (censored from official transcripts). It's the same rule that applies to "a" or "an." It's "a" before a consonant sound and "an" before a vowel sound.
If you said you ate "thee apple, thee orange and thee apricot," you'd not only be saying it right, but you'd also be getting plenty of fruit!
But now it's common on the TV news to hear the handsome young anchor say "thuh accident on thuh interstate injured thuh ostrich, thuh owl and thuh aardvark." (Yes, this is common! We need to better protect our vowel-beginning animals!)
It's a generational thing. All my 40-plus friends say "thee" before a vowel sound, but the younger people don't. I make it a point to not correct other people (you're welcome, Go-Go's), and I get that the language changes constantly. But I wonder if "thee" will go away forever. "Thuh answer is blowin' in the wind!"