Growing up in Philadelphia, it was probably inevitable that I’d prefer “God Bless America” over the “Star Spangled Banner.” The former became the de facto national anthem for the Philadelphia Flyers after their Stanley Cup championships of 1974 and 1975, at which the song was sung by Kate Smith. That it was written by Irving Berlin doesn’t hurt either. As sung by Smith, the song always included an introduction which is often forgotten:
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
Happy Fourth of July!