God Bless the U.S.A.

A Brooklyn school principal, Greta Hawkins of P.S. 90 in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, decided to ban the singing of “God Bless the U.S.A.” at a kindergarten graduation ceremony after she decided that the song would offend other cultures.

The students had already spent months learning the song.  Instead, she ordered them to sing a wildly age-inappropriate song by Justin Bieber – “Baby”.  After a public outcry and a Facebook campaign by Queens councilman Peter Vallone to reinstate “God Bless the U.S.A.”, Hawkins pulled “Baby.”  Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor insisted they had not pressured Hawkins in any way, and both expressed “support for our principals.”

Well, Mayor Bloomberg how about support for our principles, instead?  Those American principles and values that made our country great.  You seem to be on a mean streak.  First you banned outdoor smoking.  Well, maybe that wasn’t so bad.  But then you went on a bureaucratic rampage, limiting what people could eat and drink.  Now you want to tell them what they can sing.

Is it because the song has “God” in its title?  Or is it just that it’s patriotic?  Brooklyn is well-known for its sizeable Muslim population.  Is that the culture we’re supposed to be afraid of offending?

Even though “Baby” was removed from the song list, “God Bless the USA” will not return to the program.  Lee Greenwood, the song’s author, composer, and artist, has been singing the song for the last 30 years and finds it baffling that his popular song would be censored. Greenwood told the N.Y. Post, which broke the story, that he thought Hawkins was confusing allegiance with worship and was disappointed that she chose not to include it in the ceremony.

“I don’t think it’s a religious issue to salute the flag. You always respect the flag,” Greenwood told the Post. 

“The flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away,” he sings in the song.  “And I’m proud to be an American where I at least I know I’m free.  And I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me.  And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.”

If I had children in that school district, and especially if I was a veteran with grandkids in P.S. 90, I’d go to that school and stand up for the right to be free and sing that song.  You can’t expect five year-olds to take that kind of risk.  But the adults certainly can.  The song means nothing if you can’t do exactly what it says and stand up next to your friends and neighbors and defend her. 

Veterans, of all people, should know what standing up for freedom means.  If you could face the Nazis, or the kamikaze, or the Chinese, or the Vietcong, or the Muslim terrorists, surely you can stand up and sing a song.  Let us see just what freedom really means to all of us.

Let your children and grandchildren see what freedom means to you.  Set the example for them.


Published in: on June 12, 2012 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  

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