July 4, 2014

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July weekend.

Irving Berlin wrote a song in 1918 which he never used until 1938. We know it as God Bless America. Berlin considered it a ‘peace song’ and introduced it on an Armistice Day (Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11) broadcast sung by Kate Smith. We rarely hear the opening stanza sung anymore (below), which is a call to the song/prayer that follows.

The song was used in a 1939 musical This is the Army. It was the official campaign song of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. More recently, after 9/11 the members of Congress sang it on the steps of the Capital in Washington, DC. Often it is sung now at sports events along with the Star Spangled Banner.

For this holiday weekend, I would offer this song as a prayer as we celebrate our freedoms and remember the men and women who served and died to gain and keep them for this beautiful land. This video includes the opening verse.

 While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home

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