Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Random thoughts

*** I was watching an old Great Performances show about American Popular Music which included a lovely segment about popular music in WWII. One of the points the show made (entirely without irony considering its PBS origins) was that the American entertainment industry threw itself wholeheartedly behind the war effort. One of the most popular songs -- and one of my favorite songs -- was this Irving Berlin song, which he originally wrote during WWI:

God Bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her, And guide here, Through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, To the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam, God Bless America, My home, sweet home.
What a lovely, simple expression of American patriotism. I'm admitted entirely ignorant about current American popular music, but I'd be willing to bet that no one has composed something comparable. Also, if memory serves me correctly, immediately after 9/11, people all over America turned to "God Bless America" again as the song that could best express the emotions of our nation at war. That's a testament both to the song's timelessness, and to the unavailability of any current music to fill that emotional need. *** Thinking of war got me thinking about the World War Two Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Click here for pictures.) Personally, I find the memorial a bit bombastic. What was incredibly moving when I was there, though, was the visitors. The day I was there, survivors from a unit that was at the Battle of the Bulge were there too. The memorial site was filled with hundreds of very old, often very sick old men, their equally aged and ill wives, and their children and grandchildren. And practically to a man, the old men were crying, as they remembered the most horrible, meaningful, important time in their lives. If you can watch dozens and dozens of old warriors weeping without tearing up yourself, you have a heart of stone. What I wondered, though, is what that cold stone monument's impact will be when there are no more warriors who visit and remember.