This is my country

Growing up in World War II in northeastern Pennsylvania, we had a local pride for a nearby popular singing group, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, working out of a resort at the Delaware Water Gap.

They were very popular on the radio and concert tours.  After America entered the war in late 1941 (you know, Pearl Harbor and all that, but who studies history anymore when wokeness is more important?), they recorded this song, written only a year earlier by lyricist Don Raye with music by Al Jacobs.  It became popular as America's Greatest Generation went off to war in faraway lands.  We wore out the grooves on the old '78s, playing it over and over on my cousin's record player.

There are many patriotic songs, and each has its special place.  But this one for me was always extra-special, maybe because of my own memories, but also because of the message of both pride and gratitude.  It is a paean of appreciation by both those born in the USA (land of my birth) and those from other lands who chose to come here (land of my choice), like my wife, and my dad, who nearly lost his life fighting for it in the Argonne Forest, and whose second view of the Statue of Liberty was from a hospital ship cot.

On this Fourth of July, more accurately Independence Day, take a moment to hear it, and pay special attention to its words, for they have so much meaning.  Probably a best version is that by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

It is so sad today to see a dystopian minority, aided by a dysfunctional media establishment, a depraved polity, and a disloyal corporate class, trash all that is so good in the land wherein they fortunately but ungratefully live.  Could not they too join in to say, "I swell with pride and deep within my breast, I thrill to see Old Glory paint the breeze"?

Maybe we could play it over and over, as we did on the record player until the grooves of hate and malice for their country are worn out of their heads. 

Now, dwell on some of those lyrics so meaningful for past generations, yet so disparaged today:

With hand upon my heart, I thank the Lord, for this my native land,
For all I love is here within her gates.
My soul is rooted deeply in the soil on which I stand,
For these are mine, my own United States.

This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country, to have and to hold.

This is my country! Land of my choice!
This is my country! Hear my proud voice!

I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country, to have and to hold.

Happy Independence Day, and God bless America.

William Campenni is a retired engineer and Air Force fighter pilot who is eternally grateful that he is an American.

Image: Jeff Turner via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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