Editorial — ‘God Bless the USA’ best work of boring singer
Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2018
I’m no fan of Lee Greenwood. Would we even know who he is had it not been for that song, “God Bless the USA”?
Probably not. He had several hits back in the ’80s or something, but mainstream country music at the time just wasn’t very good. In other words, it stunk. Give me Hank Jr. over Lee Greenwood any day of the week.
But as much as I find Lee Greenwood’s music a snapshot of what was wrong with country music at the time, he hit a home run when he wrote and recorded “God Bless the USA.”
“… I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away.
And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’ll gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the USA. …”
That song was a hit for a good reason. It gives us pride. It comforts us. Republicans and Democrats. Blacks and whites. Rich and poor. When a song can touch that wide of a demographic population, it will probably be around forever, right there with the national anthem and the now popular 7th inning stretch song in professional baseball, “God Bless America.” Personally, I prefer “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for those 7th inning stretches, maybe because peanuts and Cracker Jacks sound more appealing during a ballgame than talk about prairies and oceans. But that’s just me.
“God Bless the USA” is a regular at veteran’s events and sporting events. As we get ready to celebrate our country’s independence, you’ll likely hear it at least once in the next week.
Every time our country gets into some kind of skirmish with another country, “God Bless the USA” comes back. If you’re going to be remembered by one song, Lee Greenwood found a winner.
On the other hand, I would prefer if we had latched onto Charlie Daniel’s 1980 song, “In America.”
“ … From The Sound up in Long Island
Out to San Francisco Bay
And everything that’s in between them is our own
And we may have done a little bit
Of fightin’ amongst ourselves
But you outside peoople best leave us alone
‘Cause we’ll all stick together
And you can take that to the bank
That’s the cowboys and the hippies
And the rebels and the yanks …”
Charlie Daniels hit the nail on the head — for his time. The way things are going, we may never find that secure feeling of unity. Back then, if Russia even looked sideways at another country, it pissed us off. All of us.
Especially Pittsburgh Steelers fans, who Charlie Daniels mentioned in his song, and whom he admired. At the time, Daniels said something that still rings true.
“The strength of America is not in Washington, D.C. It’s in our people, it’s on our farms, in the factories. It’s the people out here that make this country work. The truck drivers, the farmers. And these people (Steelers fans), that’s what they were, and I just felt like if you want to go to war, let me take some of these guys with me.”
Enjoy the Fourth of July celebrations. With July 4th coming on a Wednesday, you can stretch the celebration as many communities are holding events this weekend — and on the 4th.
And enjoy some patriotic music. Maybe Lee Greenwood’s masterpiece, or Charlie Daniels’ country rock classic, Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” or even Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Made In America.”
“… We made it in America, sweet baby Jesus, ooh
Oh sweet baby Jesus, we made it in America …”
Remember, we’re all Americans, and if we all thought the same, it would be a boring place.