The Transylvania Times -

God Bless America

 

April 29, 2019



Enough is enough. Kate Smith’s singing of “God Bless America” has been called our second national anthem but has now been banned by the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Flyers, her statue covered in black because of two satirical songs she sang in 1931. One song was also often sung by Paul Robeson, African-American civil rights activist and America’s greatest bass-baritone.

While surfing the internet, I played Kate’s radio performance of the initial singing of “God Bless America” in 1938 for the 20th anniversary of peace in WWI. After wiping away a tear or two, I did a little research.

“God Bless America” was written as a prayer by the famous composer Irving Berlin, a Russian-Jewish immigrant. He donated the song’s royalties to the Boys and Girls Scouts. The KKK vigorously opposed it because it was written by a Jew.

In WWII it was called the song “that got us through the war.” It was President FDR’s 1940 official campaign song. When he introduced Kate Smith to King George VI of England, FDR simply said, “this Kate Smith — Miss Smith is America.” She sang it to our troops several hundred times. She would later be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On the day after 9/11, a bipartisan Congress sang, “God Bless America” on the step of the Capitol. George Orwell was right in his great novel, “1984,” when he predicted that next they would be tearing down statues.

On May 11, when my local Sarasota Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter hosts its 6th semi-annual military “swap and sale” show, after we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we will play Kate Smith singing “God Bless America.” Most of us aging vets will tear up a bit.

Jack Matthews

Osprey, Fla

 
 

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