Sunday, May 24, 2009

God Bless America

One of the greatest blessings in my life is to have been born a citizen of the United States of America. While many nations enjoy similar freedoms and similar opportunities; the creation of this nation was inspired by God, our Heavenly Father.

We are blessed to live in this free country and have a responsiblity to keep it free.

President Harold B. Lee, speaking of liberty, said, ‘Man possesses human dignity because he is made in the image and likeness of God; it is this image that makes man different, that makes man a son of God. Without this image, man has no free will and frequently neither liberty nor the capacity for liberty.’ He further said, ‘In this struggle for freedom, at home and abroad, our greatest weapon, both a sword and a shield will be our love of and faith in God.’

I love parades and fireworks and the patriotic music of this country. I stand for the national anthem and sing it through tears. I sing "God Bless America" with similar feelings.

From Kate Smith's biography: Today's younger generations may not be familiar with the origin and history of the song Irving Berlin considered his most important composition. It was written during the First World War, for an army camp show where Berlin was stationed: Camp Yaphank on Long Island. The show's producers rejected it as too jingoistic, so Berlin placed it in a trunk of rejected manuscripts. There it lay for twenty years, until Ted Collins, manager of popular singer Kate Smith, approached Irving Berlin for a new patriotic song for Kate to introduce to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. Berlin had recently returned from a trip to England, during which he was saddened to see signs of another war in the making. He was more thankful than ever to come back to his peaceful adopted homeland (his family had come to America from Russia when Irving was a small boy), so he was motivated to answer Collins' request, on Kate's behalf.

After several days of futile attempts to write a new patriotic song, Berlin remembered the one he had written in 1918. He asked his secretary to retrieve it from the trunk, and he made a few changes to the lyrics. Now Kate Smith was the No. I popular songstress in America in 1938, and her weekly Kate Smith Hour was heard by many millions of radio listeners that Thursday, November 10. The shy composer was invited to attend the show, but he declined, opting to listen with a few friends in his office at his music publishing company in New York. Kate sang it as her closing number, after which Berlin's phone began to ring, as people began to ask, 'Where can we get that song that Kate Smith just sang.?" Berlin was so touched by those calls that he decided to attend the rebroadcast three hours later for the west coast audience. At the conclusion of the broadcast, Kate called Irving to the stage and gave him a bearhug that swept him off his feet!

No comments: