Thursday, May 31, 2012
‘God Bless the USA’
I started my Memorial Day with a short drive from my house to town, and it was nice to see so many flags flying.
It was a quick reminder as to the importance of the holiday and immediately turned my thoughts to where they should have been – those who have lost their lives defending our great country and those who continue to fight for our freedoms.
The holiday ended with a drive home from Alabama, where we visited with family.
Leaving the rural area of Marion County, Ala., I turned on the car radio. Fittingly, one of my favorite patriotic songs of all-time was just beginning.
We all started singing along to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.
Lee Greenwood’s popular song reached number seven on “Billboard” magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart just before I graduated from the University of North Alabama – in the spring of 1984.
He said, “I’ve always wanted to write a song about America, and I said we just need to be more united.”
I learned the words to “God Bless the USA” back then, at age 21, as I listened to it repeatedly, and I can still easily recall the words today, when it comes on the radio.
It was played at the 1984 Republican National Convention with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan in attendance, but the song gained greater prominence during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991.
Its popularity rose again with the September 11, 2001, attack and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
I enjoyed other traditions of Memorial Day – like breaking in our new grill by cooking hamburgers, hot dogs and steaks. I even played horseshoes in Alabama.
But most all, I paused to say “thank you” for America, its troops and its freedoms.
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