President Donald Trump spoke at the Israeli American Council National Summit, his speech including the wonderful story behind one of America’s most popular songs, “God Bless America.”
“In every generation, Jewish American patriots have strengthened, sustained, uplifted, and inspired our nation,” Trump said, according to the White House. “In a moment, the Shalva Band will conclude this event with a song that we know very well. Before they do, I want to tell the famous story behind it.”
While the audience waited for the performance, President Trump passionately explained the details behind the famous song written by Irving Berlin.
“In 1918, a young Jewish American soldier stationed at Camp Upton, in New York, wrote a prayer in the form of a song,” Trump explained. “His name was Irving Berlin — maybe the greatest of them all. And he held that song close to his heart for more than 20 years. He did not release the song until 1938, as the world learned of Hitler’s evil atrocities against the Jewish people. On November 10th of that year, his song broadcast through the radio and into the homes all across the country. Millions and millions of people were inspired. It was the first time Americans heard Irving Berlin’s timeless hymn, “God Bless America,”” he said, drawing healthy applause from the crowd.
It was a time in which America was not afraid to pray. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would often lead the nation in prayer on his radio broadcasts, especially during the war. Trump fondly recalled the way the nation reacted to the song as a song of prayer.
“These words became the prayer of our nation, the prayer that traveled to the islands of the Pacific, to the beaches of Normandy, and all the way to Nazi territory, where American soldiers open the gates of concentration camps and liberated Jewish survivors,” he said.
Trump then went on to explain that the song has been something we have turned to often in times of trouble throughout our nation’s history, even to this day.
“It’s the prayer that Americans sang as we faced down communism and as we came together as one nation after 9/11. It’s the prayer that still unites us today and the hope that burns bright in our hearts because we are proud American patriots,” Trump said. “We love this magnificent nation with every ounce of our strength, spirit, and soul.”
With that, Trump concluded by inviting the musicians to begin playing. It was a powerful scene to see the song performed so beautifully, after such a wonderful setup.
“So tonight, together, we ask that God bless our military. We ask that God bless our veterans. We ask that God bless our cherished ally, the State of Israel. (Applause.) And with our flag-waving high, our people standing tall, and our faith forever strong, we say our prayer once more: God bless America, our home sweet home.”
Watch the performance below. It begins at the 3:45 mark: