Each Thursday my Kiwanis Club begins its meeting with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by singing the chorus of “God Bless America,” which is then followed up with someone leading in an opening prayer. In his booklet, In God We Still Trust, Dr. Richard G. Lee shares the story behind the song, “God Bless America.”
Irving Berlin was born in a poor Russian Jewish ghetto, and he immigrated to America with his parents when he was five. They settled in New York’s Lower East Side. Berlin became one of the most prolific American song-writers in history.
“God Bless America” is an American patriotic song he originally wrote in 1918 and revised in 1938, as war and the Nazis were threatening Europe. The song takes the form of a prayer for God’s blessing and peace for the nation. Singer Kate Smith introduced the revised “God Bless America” during her radio broadcast on Armistice Day 1938, and the song was an immediate sensation. It is considered an unofficial national anthem of the United States. The next time you sing this song, consider it a prayer asking for God’s blessing and favor to be upon our nation. Here are the words:
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 the light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the ocean white with foam. God bless America, my home sweet home.
When seen as a prayer, the song takes on a new and special meaning. In Deuteronomy 15:6 we read, “For the Lord your God will bless you just as he promised you….” May we live as people of God’s promise to bless us and be kind toward us as we faithfully follow Him. Seek his blessing. Seek his favor, not only for yourself but for our nation.
Blessings to you,