Written by Peter Gailunas
So once again a suburban school is in the grips of a media frenzy because of the administrations’ choice to remove the word God from a song. Originally the children at Stall Brook Elementary School in Bellingham were told to sing, “We love the U.S.A.” instead of “God Bless the U.S.A.” at school assembly concert featuring the Lee Greenwood song “God Bless the USA” of post 9/11 fame. After parents became outraged, the principal of the school then decided to cut the song entirely in the hopes to “maintain the focus on the original objective of sharing students’ knowledge of the United States, and because of logistics, will not include any songs.” Kind of a cowardly move if you ask me. If you feel strong enough to change the lyrics of a song to get rid of “God bless” then stand by your convictions – don’t pussy out. This is why I live in South Boston, we don’t back down.
So the “Footloose” type stance banning singing just enraged parents more and I’m sure disappointed the kids that they no longer got to sing at all – not to mention that parents probably looked forward to hearing some singing for the entertainment factor and no doubt dreaded even more sitting through a school assembly about United States geography sans a song or two.
Lee Greenwood himself was pissed too. According to a statement by the singer songwriter here are his thoughts: “Maybe the school should have asked the parents their thoughts before changing the lyrics to the song. They could have even asked the writer of the song, which I of course, would have said you can’t change the lyrics at all or any part of the song.” The nerve of Bellingham Public Schools having the balls to change the guys lyrics – and not even asking before – it’s the epitome of rudeness.
So after all the parental anger, harshly worded emails, an annoyed singer/songwriter, and a media shit show, the Bellingham Public School relented and put the songs back in the assembly and released a statement that students will now be allowed to sing or not sing “God Bless the USA” during an upcoming assembly at Stall Brook Elementary School. “To sing or not to sing?” Really? Again, Bellingham proving itself to be the spineless jellyfish that would originally take it upon themselves to reword one of the most iconic patriotic songs of our time and outrage a nation.
Bellingham parents better hope and pray (yes, I said pray) their third grader sings those lyrics “God Bless the USA” loud and clear or their entire family will be called out as un-American and non-patriotic. And I’ll make a bet that the music teacher that picked the song “God Bless the USA” out of the hundreds of USA/Patriotic genre songs has been canned.
God Bles America!