The United States has several patriotic anthems that are sung at different events through the years. We stand at attention, hand over heart, facing the direction of the nation’s flag. These songs are meant to bring each American together, for a short moment, to pay respect to their great nation. One such song is “God Bless America,” originally written in 1918 by Irving Berlin and later revised in 1938 by Kate Smith.
This song is unique in that during World War II Kate Smith added an introduction that invites each person singing to join her “As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.” The prayer was not only to celebrate the freedom that comes with living in America but to also pray for those troops oversees that they may come home safe.
These lyrics have lived on and are still relevant today as was demonstrated during the seventh-inning stretch of Game 1 at the 2013 World Series. The Boston Red Sox were leading by more than a few runs against the St. Luis Cardinals. Veteran Marine Corps Sergeant Dan Clark took the field in full uniform to perform his rendition of this truly American classic.
While he did not have his uniform with him to wear that night, he was granted special permission by the military to borrow another soldiers dress blues. In full military garb, Clark enters Fenway Park and belts out “God Bless America” in a deep powerful voice that stuns the crowd into silence.
The heart and soul that Clark exhibits during the song expresses how much this anthem means to him. He ends with a long high note that seems to go on forever.
When Clark finishes, the crowd loudly claps and bursts into cheers expressing not only their own patriotism but also their appreciation to the man who has reminded them why America is great.