May 112012
 

The son of a rabbi, he was born MAY 11, 1888.

At 4-years-old, he immigrated with his family from Russia to New York.

Falling in love with America, he served as a U.S. infantry sergeant in World War I.

He later wrote some of the nation’s most popular songs, including: “Remember,” “Always,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “There’s No Business like Show Business,” “Easter Parade,” “White Christmas” and the patriotic song “God Bless America.”

Who was he? Irving Berlin.

Irving Berlin sings “God Bless America” on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 5, 1968.

Though Irving Berlin wrote “God Bless America” in 1917, it was not introduced to the public until 1938, when it was sung by Kate Smith on an Armistice Day radio broadcast. Berlin gave all the royalties from the song, approximately $100,000, to the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of America.

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman awarded Berlin the Army’s Medal of Merit for:

“Extraordinary service as creator and producer of the musical revue, This Is the Army.”

In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a Congressional Bill awarding Berlin a Congressional Gold Medal:

“In recognition of his services in composing many popular songs, including ‘God Bless America.’”

Upon receiving the medal, February 19, 1955, Irving Berlin commented to President Eisenhower:

“To me, ‘God Bless America’ was not just a song but an expression of my feeling toward the country to which I owe what I have and what I am.”

In 1977, Irving Berlin received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ford.

On October 12, 2001, Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware stated:

“In the aftermath of September 11…Republicans and Democrats burst into that song of the same name by Irving Berlin on the steps of the U.S. Capitol…It was a slogan for peace.”

Irving Berlin wrote:

“”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 the Light From Above,
From the Mountains,
to the Prairies,
To the Oceans
White with Foam,
God Bless America,
My Home Sweet Home,
God Bless America,
My Home Sweet Home!”

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