Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Song for Flag Day

Not only a song

but also a ten - minute short film

written in 1945 by Albert Maltz,
produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy

starring Frank Sinatra,
instructing children against
anti-Semitism and racial prejudice

The House I Live In
What is America to me?
A name, a map, or a flag I see;
A certain word, democracy.
What is America to me?

The house I live in,
A plot of earth, a street,
The grocer and the butcher,
Or the people that I meet;
The children in the playground,
The faces that I see,
All races and religions,
That's America to me.

The place I work in,
The worker by my side,
The little town or city
Where my people lived and died.
The howdy and the handshake,
The air and feeling free,
And the right to speak my mind out,
That's America to me.

The things I see about me,
The big things and the small,
The little corner newsstand,
And the house a mile tall;
The wedding and the churchyard,
The laughter and the tears,
And the dream that's been a growing
For a hundred-fifty years.

The town I live in,
The street, the house, the room,
The pavement of the city,
And the garden all in bloom;
The church, the school, the clubhouse,
The million lights I see,
But especially the people;
That's America to me.

The house I live in,
My neighbors white and black,
The people who just came here,
Or from generations back;
The town hall and the soapbox,
The torch of liberty,
A home for all God's children;
That's America to me.

The words of old Abe Lincoln,
Of Jefferson and Paine,
Of Washington and Jackson
And the tasks that still remain;
The little bridge at Concord,
Where Freedom's fight began,
Our Gettysburg and Midway
And the story of Bataan.

The house I live in,
The goodness everywhere,
A land of wealth and beauty,
With enough for all to share;
A house that we call Freedom,
A home of Liberty,
And it belongs to fighting people
That's America to me.

lyrics written in 1943 by Abel Meeropol
under the pen name Lewis Allen

music by Earl Robinson
sung by Frank Sinatra


I learned this song back in May of 1969, when we sang it at our Sixth Grade Spring Concert. When I started at Central School ~ Francis Howell School District, St. Charles County, Missouri ~ there was no piano or music room available, so our music teacher, Mr. Lester roamed from classroom to classroom, teaching us songs to his accompaniment on the accordian. The following year, we were granted a little room with slanted ceilings underneath the stage -- we did have a stage in an auditorium that doubled as our gymnasium.

At the concert that spring, along with the Frank Sinatra number, we also sang:

Hernando's Hideaway

Steam Heat

Baubles, Bangles, and Beads

You've Gotta Have Heart

Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, Mo

Hey, Look Me Over

El Sombrero

Put On A Happy Face

June is Bustin' Out All Over

What a Country

The theme? "Life In the Good Old U. S. A."

America to Me: Central School(sadly, no longer standing)


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