One evening last week, armed with sanitizer and prepared to social distance adequately, we ventured our masked selves out for a burger and fries. It was a warm evening and the restaurant was in a circle of several more little eating places, many people sitting out in the common area to eat or wait for their meals, respectfully distanced.

As we waited to order, six feet behind a woman with a young boy in tow, we watched the little guy’s antics. Right outside the big glass window, was another mother with a little girl similar age, finishing up their dinner. For the next 10-15 minutes, these two small children, total strangers, different sexes, different races, possibly different languages, likely different religions, played tag and hide and seek and entertained one another through a glass window. Their squeals of pure unashamed joy were contagious and they were delightful to watch.. 

These two innocents knew nothing of their differences but found great happiness in what they shared. Color, race, language, religion, sex, dress – none of it was considered. It was a perfect illustration of acceptance.

Americanism, patriotism, acceptance … researching what Webster says is easy, defining it by assigning it to self with a personal commitment is a harder task. Devotion, support and suitable admittance leads from one to another, blending them flawlessly into a resilient and respectable character mixer – one to be strived for, one Elvis had in spades.

Our Elvis, our American patriotic soldier boy who loved his country, loved his flag, loved all his fans, understood these very traits because they were innate in his soul. They were as much a part of him as living and breathing, singing and loving. His affinity and affection for his America and the people, all people, never came into question.

The Bicentennial year of our country, 1976, was a national celebration. Presley came to the party prepared and proud. In the mid 70’s, America the Beautiful became his, same as American Trilogy and How Great Thou Art. 

His particular spoken annunciation with emphasis on “America” and “God”, bared the depth of his feelings and breathed passion into his tone, same as a sincere preacher man with his Bible open on a Sunday morning. It was the second verse of his “If I Can Dream”, a continuation of what he knew to be right and just and honest.

Enjoy the clip – and Happy Birthday to America.

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America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

For purple mountain majesties

Above thy fruited plain

America, America

God shed His grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea

For beautiful..for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

For purple mountain..majesties

Above the fruited plain…

America!…America!…

God shed His grace..on thee..

And crowned thy good, with brotherhood

From sea…to shining sea…

America!..America!!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea…to..shining..sea!!

AMERICA!!!….

First recorded 1/13/75 in the studio, rejected and taped over.