One east coast woman is promoting the power of prayer with her campaign on “God Bless America”.
92-year-old Henrietta Creighton knows how to combat that helpless feeling present during troubled times.
Sing “God Bless America”.
But not individually. Grandma Etta, as Creighton is called by those who know her, wants everybody in the United States to sing Irving Berlin’s legendary anthem. “Anyone can get one more house of worship singing “God Bless America” at the end of their services,” she said, citing the following prerequisites: “If you love God and America, you’re in.”
Grandma Etta, who spends the winter in Florida and the summer at the Jersey Shore, launched a red, white and blue Facebook page as well as the website singgba.com with the help of her youngest grandchild, 35-year old Jacquelyn Tocci.
Tocci helped her grandmother create postcards that are mailed all over the United States in support of her cause.
This isn’t to say, however, that others across the country haven’t already latched on to the song. Kate Smith’s 1938 rendition is used by several sports teams, practically as a good luck charm. There is a statue of Kate Smith in the South Philadelphia sports complex that houses the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers professional sports franchises.
And ever since 9/11, the New York Yankees 9/11 a live singer of God Bless America or the iconic recording of Kate Smith’s version performed in the middle of the 7th inning. “It’s a powerful moment, everybody in the stadium is banded together as one,” said life-long Yankee fan John Lindholm, who was able to hear the song performed in both the old Yankee Stadium, and the new one, which opened in 2009.
“It’s a powerful moment, everybody in the stadium is banded together as one” -John Lindolm
Shockingly, the song almost spent all of eternity in a trunk in Irving Berlin’s home. He originally scored it in 1918, a time when several patriotic songs were being released. Berlin’s musical secretary, Harry Ruby, said, “Geez, another one?” and Berlin agreed, tucking it away with other partially finished pieces.
Twenty years later, with the world seemingly on a collision course with another world war, Berlin revisited the song and rewrote a few lyrics. On November 11, 1938, as part of her Armistice Day anniversary broadcast, Kate Smith etched the anthem into the American consciousness forever.
Especially if Grandma Etta has anything to say about it.