A writer for the New York Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman, wrote a piece about how he feels Major League Baseball should stop using “God Bless America” during games held on the holidays.
I respectfully disagree, on a few levels.
To me, the song has sentimental value. It’s a link I have to my grandfather, Peter McGinn Sr., owner of McGinn’s Tavern in The Bronx, a man who came over to this country from Ireland seeking a better life. My grandfather died of Alzheimer’s in 1985 when I was almost 14, a couple of weeks removed from starting high school.
The one thing my grandfather would do if someone said the words God, bless, and America in something nearing that order, he would sing that Irving Berlin song. Alzheimer’s or not, he would remember all of the words. I never heard him once mess up the song like the legendary Tony Bennett did at a San Francisco Giants game not too long ago.
Plus, I have heard “God Bless America” at fights, and at tennis matches, not just baseball games. I don’t get why the responsibility should be on MLB to stop using it.
Our country turns 240 years old in two days. Nothing wrong with being proud of where you live, no matter what you believe in politically.