The Story Behind “God Bless America”
From Kate Smith to Celine Dion to New York City’s “singing cop,” Daniel Rodriguez, “God Bless America” has had its fair share of renditions over the years. Irving Berlin originally wrote the song in 1918 while he served in the U.S. Army, but he revised it in 1938 to become a song about peace rather than victory.
“God Bless America” has replaced “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” during the seventh-inning stretch at many Major League Baseball games on holidays, Sundays, and special occasions. In addition, the song has been performed during numerous professional sporting events, including the Indianapolis 500 and several National Hockey League events.
In 1940, “God Bless America” was the official campaign song for Franklin D. Roosevelt. The song also inspired another American favorite, “This Land Is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie.
In the above video, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform a solemn but uplifting version of “God Bless America,” arranged by Roy Ringwald. The song was also included in the Choir’s Spirit of America album.