Thursday, May 14, 2020

A crumb from 1918, and 1940

Before and during World War II, Kate Smith was one of the most beloved singers in America. In 1940, as the United States endured the Great Depression and Hitler invaded Europe, Americans feared what the future might hold. (Sound familiar?) Kate asked Irving Berlin to write a song to lift everyone's spirits, and he gave her one he wrote 22 years earlier, in 1918, during the flu pandemic. If you can open the link at the end of this crumb, you'll see Kate in a radio studio with orchestra and audience singing God Bless America for the first time. While she sings, scenes from the movie "You're in the Army Now" will be shown. She and Berlin agreed to donate all money earned by this song to the Boy Scouts of America.

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