Saturday, April 26, 2014

God Bless America

It's not Independence Day, not Flag Day, it's not a holiday- but why do we seem to only celebrate America on certain days, when we ought to celebrate our country every day?

I have a friend who sends me cool things in e mail all the time, sometimes just trivia, or jokes, sometimes historical photos from the World Wars, videos and other interesting things. I don't always have time to look at them, so I save them in my e mail for another time when I can read or watch without interruptions because I know it's going to be something special. Many times, although I feel bad for not reading or watching right away, when I do have a chance to open the mail, it's something that comes at just the right time.  A laugh when I need one, a boost of inspiration, or sometimes just a really cool and needed diversion from political stuff.

This morning I read a couple of things that have been in my mailbox for a couple of weeks, and although I have heard the story behind this song, it is one worth sharing, and it came at the time I really needed a boost. Not of patriotism, for I always have that, but just a confirmation of what this country is and has been all about. I surround myself with people who love God and America, but sometimes so much goes on, it's hard to focus on simpler things, simpler times. 
While this is way before my time, I've always loved old movies and music, because people, Hollywood and musicians had more of a Patriotic spirit even when times were hard.  Times have been hard in our country, yet the country and her people always got through because they had a spirit of goodness, love and pride in our country and they remembered God through all times. I don't know why, but whenever I hear this song, or others from older times, I get tears.

Whether it's from gratitude for living here, for those who have fought and fight for her, or just because I wish for things to be better, I don't know, but whenever I hear these songs, I know I'm in the place where I belong and I will do my best to try and help bring America back to all who loved and appreciated her- those of us who never believed she needed a "transformation".

From the e mail:

"Kate Smith was one of those who loved America and was, like some of us today, concerned about how the times are affecting so many people. The  time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans. This was the era just before TV, when radio shows  were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith. She was the biggest radio star of her time.

Kate was also  patriotic.  It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of  what the next day would bring. She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving  Berlin (who also wrote "White Christmas") and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, way back in 1917. He gave it to and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America. Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. 
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into  the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the  new song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first  couple of verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are  shown from the 1940 movie, "You're In The Army Now."  At the 4:20  mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an  office, reading a paper; it's Ronald Reagan.

To  this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. 

Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I  doubt whether she realized just how  successful the results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry..... and for  many generations of Americans to follow.  Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you'll enjoy it and treasure it even more. "


 C.A.E 2014 with thanks M.A.M

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