By Del Duduit
Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I get stunned all over again.
Ignorant and radical leftists are taking down historical statues all over the country because they do not appreciate the significance of the times.
Blathering idiots want the names of American iconic stars like John Wayne removed from airports because they don’t agree with what a person might have said 50 years ago. Just because they don’t agree with statements doesn’t make them right or wrong.
And I could go on and on with other examples of uninformed and misguided people who are determined to destroy American heritage.
But the recent announcement from the world of professional sports has me shaking my head once again.
The Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Yankees have proclaimed they will no longer play God Bless America by Kate Smith.
Since 2001, the year the world watched in horror as terrorists attacked New York City, the seventh-inning stretch has featured Smith’s glorious version of the song. It helped heal the Big Apple and promoted a sense of pride in the nation.
I’ve been there when God Bless America was played in the Bronx. Everyone stood, covered their heart and sang along. There is something special about hearing Smith’s voice bellow out in the new Yankee Stadium. But no more.
And the history of the song goes back further for the Flyers.
The organization had a tradition of playing Smith’s version of God Bless America as a replacement for the national anthem on occasion at big games.
There is even speculation that the song bestowed good luck on the team. She performed it live before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1974 when the squad captured its first NHL title.
But someone who was bored had time enough to go back into history and discover that songs she sang as far back as 1937 might have been offensive.
They have gone so far as to cover up a statue of the singer in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Yankees issued a statement defending their position to cower down and give in to pressure from crybabies.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a team spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
Really? I’m glad they take social issues with a serious attitude. I’m happy they are sensitive.
Based on information from the storied achives that is the pride of the Pinstripes – I guess they will follow through and remove these iconic names from their history too:
- Goodbye, Babe Ruth, who played in New York from 1920-1934. The Hall of Fame player had a lifetime average of .342 and whacked 714 home runs. But he was also well-known for his love for liquor and women. He even discussed a contract which payed him $50,000 to get to bed early, abstain from alcohol and an additional $25,000 to give up easy girls. Now that’s character. Was he sensitive? Will they take down his plague in Monument Park behind center field?
- So long, Roger Clemens. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner played for the Yankees from 1999-2003 and returned in 2007. He was widely suspected and accused of using steroids. A former teammate, Jose Canseco outed the pitcher in his book, and Clemens’ name appeared numerous times in the Mitchell Report, which listed players who used the substance to further their career. I guess the Yankees will want those two rings back from Clemens so they can toss them into the Hudson River. Sensitivity at its best.
- Lest we forget Alex Rodriguez. He’s accused of about everything under the sun, yet he is revered as a former Yankee because he helped to bring a championship to the Bronx. Should they overlook that he was suspended 162 games in 2014 for his involvement with performance enhancing drugs? The league punished him for his actions so will the Yankees be sensitive enough to distance themselves from his past?
And the list could go on and on.
I’m glad the organization has its high standards and won’t play a song because of someone’s past.
If the Yankees stop playing Kate Smith’s version of God Bless America because lyrics she sang in the 1930’s might be offensive, then they have to follow their own example and disconnect with all the players in their franchise who have done worse.
Both scenarios are ridiculous. New York should not erase the great players from the past and should not edit out Smith’s song during the seventh-inning stretch.
The point here is stop digging into the past. Today should be what matters. We learn from history – but we should not judge.
The culture was different back then. Attitudes were not the same as they are today.
I should not be held accountable for what my ancestors did 75 years ago.
If people look deep enough, they will discover that no one is perfect. There are things hidden in our pasts that we want to stay there.
I am no different. I have made mistakes and have owned up to them. I don’t like to relive my actions, yet I learn from my prior decisions.
Should my writings be discredited because I may have done something hurtful several years ago? No.
How Kate Smith performed the song needs to be celebrated, just as the way Whitney Houston belted out the Star-Spangled Banner before the Super Bowl in 1991. She had her flaws and died too early from drugs. She was not the model citizen, but we honor her performance.
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The same goes with Kate. Did she have faults? Of course. Should her songs be taken away from the Flyers and Yankees games? Only if organizations crumble to a few loud mouths who want to complain.
What mistakes have you made? Should your legacy be judged on a few bad choices? Do you want to be remembered for something great? Should someone be able to wreck your reputation? Why can’t we overlook and forgive people for things we may not fully understand?
There are steps to forgiveness:
1 – Recognize we all need forgiveness.
2 – We make the choice to forgive.
3 – We can experience God’s forgiveness in our lives, if we ask.
4 – Only the Lord’s love can overcome negative thoughts.
5 – The Holy Spirit empowers us with the attitude to forgive those who have caused hurt.
6 – Only God can judge — not us.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6: 14 KJV)
I doubt that those responsible for the decision by these organizations will ever read this post. I hope they do, and I pray they can forgive Kate. But that’s a long shot.
Will I go to another Yankees game in New York? No. How about a Flyer’s game now? No way.
And just to get under the skins of those whinnying – here is Kate’s wonderful version of God Bless America.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.