My Mom & Dad were born in 1921, married in 1943. They grew up during the Great Depression and lived through WWII. Tonight on PBS I watched “Celebration: Stephanie Blythe Meets Kate Smith” where an opera singer sang songs made famous by Kate Smith during the 30s-40s and WWII era. I only vaguely remember Kate Smith, but apparently she was more successful than about any other star of the time, and I remember my Mom loved Kate Smith. One of her iconic songs was:
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 a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
[Irving Berlin, 1918, 1938]
I couldn’t help but think of that time in America’s history, those people we call ‘The Greatest Generation’ as compared to the people & times of the 21st century: We’ve allowed our rivers and streams and oceans, and air, to become polluted, nearly beyond repair. We’ve subjugated the interests of the people, and its government, to the interests of Big Business and Big Oil (and the NRA).
Where Kate Smith lifted up an entire nation during trying times, now it’s 24/7 cable-news — or for some smoking crack or snorting cocaine that lifts them up. Our land is not “so fair”. I got seriously choked up on hearing God Bless America, and couldn’t help but imagine the Greatest Generation rolling over in their graves, upon the realization of what the Baby Boomers have done to America.