This, That & Other Stuff

Bob Neuman

Our world would certainly be much bleaker without music. It can entertain, inspire, comfort, produce happiness and evoke nostalgia. Sometimes it may force us to focus an introspective look at something.

Irving Berlin wrote inspirational songs during World War I that promised aid to England and France. An example was his Over There.

Songs of World War II brought consolation and hope to families whose sons were far off fighting in places with strange names. Music promised better times through endurance, separation and depravation with songs like I’ll Walk Alone, I’ll Never Smile Again and The White Cliffs of Dover.

Traditional hymns offer us solace in our grieving.

On a music channel, a song by country artist Charlie Daniels, The Devil Came Down to Georgia, caught my attention. The lyrics remind us of the beauty and greatness of our country; something quite different than the graft, greed, crimes and frauds we hear constantly on the news. They renew perspective.

It is My Beautiful America and is a notation of just that, outstanding imagery of places and scenes in our magnificent country which should awaken our awareness and appreciation.

The narrator asks, “Have you ever spent the late afternoon watching the purple shadows deepen in Arizona desert?”

“Did you ever see the sun go down in Hawaii or see the stormy waves break over the rock bound coast of Maine?”

“Or have you ever seen an eagle fly up out of the mists of Alaska?”

“Or a big October moon hanging full over the still Dakota badlands?”

“Have you ever tasted the gumbo in New Orleans, barbecue in Carolina or the chicken wings in Buffalo?”

“Have you ever had Brunswick stew in Macon or cornbread in Birmingham?”

“Or brisket slow cooked over hill country mesquite wood?”

“Did you ever drink the water from a gurgling branch in Utah?”

“Or stand on the mountain above El Paso Del Norte and see the lights twinkling clear over into Mexico?”

“Have you seen the faces on Mount Rushmore or stood at the Vietnam monument?”

“Have you ever heard the church bells peal their call to worship on an early Sunday, in some small town in the deep South?”

Our Arizona is especially blessed with its impressive Grand Canyon, scenic Sedona, numerous historic places, beautifully preserved missions, well located state parks and energetic people.

How grateful we should be for this majestic country our creator has given us to enjoy. In spite of those who denigrate, pollute and criticize it, there is no greater place in the world.

The composer of My Beautiful America concludes:

“This then is America!

The land God blesses with everything.

And no Eiffel Tower, no Taj Mahal;

No Alps; No Andes;

No native hut; nor royal palace

Can rival her awesome beauty,

Her diverse population, her monolithic majesty.

America the free!

America the mighty!

America the beautiful!

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

And to the republic for which it stands

One Nation under God indivisible

with liberty and justice for all!”