Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Proud to be an American - Even at PS 90

Proud to be an American – Even at PS 90
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 12, 2012

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today. ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, G-d Bless the USA” – Lee Greenwood, G-d Bless the USA

If there’s an American who takes offense with the Lee Greenwood anthem, G-d Bless the USA, they are heartily invited to pack their bags and find a freer nation in which to live. In other words, America: love it or leave it! After all, no one is forced to be in the United States.

And yet, earlier this week, Greta Hawkins, principal of the Edna Cohen School on Coney Island, NY (PS 90), banned the singing of Greenwood’s song at the upcoming promotion ceremony of kindergarteners to the first grade, saying, “We don’t want to offend other cultures.”

If anything, umbrage should be taken with Hawkins for being more concerned with the reaction of non-American cultures instead of the disappointment of her students who had practiced the song for weeks in preparation of their school year ending program.

So disappointed, that one mother, Luz Lozada appeared on Fox & Friends Monday morning, June 11, with her kindergarten son to express that sadness representing almost all of the parents of the school that is ethnically diverse. Lozada’s son, however, had his moment in the sun as he sang the first verse and the refrain of the Greenwood song on live television.

Lozada said there is a large immigrant population at PS 90 and strong support for the singing of G-d Bless the USA. Instead the Justin Bieber song Baby was deemed a suitable substitute, which is about teenage love and rejection. FYI, a day later, the Bieber song was also scratched.

Greenwood also appeared on the same Fox & Friends program via telephone to discuss the song. Initially it had been reported that Hawkins took issue with the opening line of the song, but that was merely a ruse to deflect from her real concern about culture and the presence of G-d in the song.

“If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life. And I had to start again with just my children and my wife,” is the first line of G-d Bless the USA. Greenwood explained that that stanza is all about the struggle his grandparents faced in losing their family farm.

What could possibly be offensive to any other culture about Greenwood’s G-d Bless the USA? An expression in pride in one’s country? An expression of gratitude to the men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice? An expression of the beauty of the American country? An expression of the gratitude one has for freedom? Other cultures could be so lucky to have what Americans have in the United States.

If there are legal immigrants in this country who are offended by such a song, their loyalty to the United States must be questioned. If someone chooses the United States, their loyalty ought to be beyond reproach. Likewise, if an American decides to expatriate him or herself, he or she should be loyal to their new country of choice.

Where is our collective sense of patriotism? I am damn proud to be an American and I don’t care what anyone from any other country, culture, continent or corner of the world thinks or says about it, and nor should any other American.

It is not arrogance but confidence in knowing we live in a country that stands for something greater than itself; a nation that is repeatedly there for other countries, friend and foe alike in times of need; generous to a fault; a place where people risk their lives to get into, not sneak out of.

May G-d continue to bless the USA.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

No comments:

Post a Comment