"God Bless America!" Kate Smith belted those Irving Berlin words out many years ago and today is a day to let yourself shout if out as well. (I did my own rendition on my deck today and got lots of glaring looks from my family!)
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. One was from "Stand beside her and guide her/ To the right with a light from above" to through the night," since "right wing" and "left wing" had taken on political connotations in the interim. The line "From the mountains to the prairies/To the oceans white with foam" had originally been "From the green fields of Virginia to the gold fields out in Nome", a decided improvement!
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!
Wishing your family a very blessed holiday! What a wonderful country we get to call HOME. Think about all the choices you make every day and you are FREE to make those choices.
From our house to yours,
Happy Independence Day!
Tonight we are having Hobos on the grill (steak, chicken, potatoes, corn, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt pepper, seasonings all wrapped in individual aluminum foil packets) and Hawaiian bread. It's a family favorite! And of course, homemade ice cream with toppings using Daddy's new ice cream machine and chilled watermelon! Then the show can begin! Fireworks! We have so enjoyed sitting on the deck in the evenings watching all the neighbor's fireworks displays for about a week. Hasn't cost US a dime! HA!
July 4th will probably always be a hard holiday for me now. It has always been one of my favorites. But this has been a tough few days for our family. My Dad passed away last July 3. We have been recalling the pain and anguish we felt last year at this time. There were no fireworks or cooking out or yard games or laughter or smiles in our home. God provides TIME to help us heal.....it never takes goes away and it is always there and we always remember and reflect....TIME only eases the pain and makes it bearable. I am so thankful to have my family to help me smile again.