God bless America
Goodness me, I’ve never been a particular fan of many of the foreign and domestic policies of the United States. I’ve said this, written this, broadcast this. I’ve taken a few blows for it as well. But there is a time and a place for everything. And at this time and in this place I say just three words. God Bless America.
For leaving half-a-million men on the battlefields of Africa, Asia and Europe during the Second World War, a conflict the United States could easily have sat out. For effectively forcing Japan to declare war and thus join the alliance of light against the gang of darkness. God Bless America.
For that farm boy from Nebraska who had never even heard of Normandy or Sicily, who wanted so much to walk back from the hill but continued on, the bullets flying over and around him. For his not turning back. For his determination to do his duty and for his dedication to freedom. For his mother and for the stars and stripes flag she hung in her window. For his life, and for the fact that he gave it. God Bless America.
For being prepared to rip the country apart in a bloody spasm of civil war because, however delayed and reluctant in some quarters, the leaders and people knew that slavery was wrong. For seeing the future dawn when others could only see the enveloping night. God Bless America.
For Lincoln and Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Truman, Kennedy and Franklin, Jefferson and Adams. For Mark Twain and John Steinbeck, Henry James and Scott Fitzgerald, Melville and Whitman. God Bless America.
For the legion of Nobel Prizes won with grace, for the medical breakthroughs celebrated with decorum, for the sporting records, the intellectual triumphs, the moral victories, the glory. For embracing “yes” rather than hiding behind “no”. God Bless America.
For the pastures and forests vibrant with green and brown lushness, for the mountains and valleys that startle and shock the world. For the cities and the towns, the highways and back roads. God Bless America.
For not taking offense at the smug disdain that comes too often from other countries. For smiling with them instead of laughing at them. For usually extending a hand of friendship to those who extend the fist of anger. God Bless America.
For jazz and pluralism, baseball and religious tolerance, burgers and equality. For inventing and pursuing an ideal that, though not always achieved, is still glorious in the making and pristine in the chasing. God Bless America.
For the billions in foreign aid, greater per capita than any other country in the world. For the food, clean water, medicine, machinery given to every continent on earth. For the Marshall Plan and Marshall Dillon, for Tom Sawyer and Tom Hanks, for New York and for the New Deal. God Bless America.
For not minding when foreigners actually show more ignorance about American culture than Americans ever do about theirs. For in fact being more polite and sensitive when abroad than many other peoples but merely smiling when described as ugly. God Bless America.
For inviting Irish, Jew, Italian, Pole, German, Hispanic, black, Asian, man and woman, all and every into the highest levels of government. For being the first nation in the world to treat the outsider as a guest rather than a problem. For being a melting pot rather than a melting society. God Bless America.
For allowing God and prayer and faith to enter public life and for not running scared of gratitude to the almighty for all that He has given us. For not lauding the religion of secularism whilst hypocritically lambasting the religions of the church, mosque and synagogue. God Bless America.
For your comedies and your dramas, for your movies and your novels, your sentimentality and glamour, your self-parody and self-criticism. For your splendour and for your silliness. God Bless America.