The Story Behind the Prayer-Inspired Song: ‘God Bless America’

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Every American has heard the incredible song “God Bless America,” yet very few of us know its origin, inspired by a prayer, nor who wrote and composed it.

Here is the story of this timeless American anthem as told by President Donald Trump recently.

Trump tells the story of the song “God Bless America”

On December 8, 2019, President Donald Trump gave a speech at the Israeli American Council National Summit.

During part of his talk, President Trump included the story of how one of America’s most popular songs, “God Bless America,” came to be written by one of the Americas and the world’s most famous composers – Irving Berlin.

God Bless America was written by a Jewish soldier

“In every generation, Jewish American patriots have strengthened, sustained, uplifted, and inspired our nation,” President Trump began the story to the audience.  “In a moment, the Shalva Band will conclude this event with a song that we know very well.  Before they do, I want to tell the famous story behind it.”

“In 1918, a young Jewish American soldier stationed at Camp Upton, in New York, wrote a prayer in the form of a song,” President Trump explained. “His name was Irving Berlin — may be the greatest of them all.  And he held that song close to his heart for more than 20 years.”

“He did not release the song until 1938,” Trump told the audience, “as the world learned of Hitler’s evil atrocities against the Jewish people.”

“On November 10th of that year,” President Trump continued, “his song broadcast through the radio and into the homes all across the country.  Millions and millions of people were inspired.  It was the first time Americans heard Irving Berlin’s timeless hymn, ‘God Bless America.'”

The song and the times

Germany, under Hitler, was invading other nations, actions that would bring the entire world to war in the following year, 1939.

In America, it was a time when the country prayed together and didn’t object to prayer. In fact, during radio broadcasts, President Franklin D. Roosevelt would lead the nation in prayer, especially during World War II.

Song becomes a national prayer

“These words became the prayer of our nation,” Trump explained.

“The prayer that traveled to the islands of the Pacific, to the beaches of Normandy, and all the way to Nazi territory, where American soldiers open the gates of concentration camps and liberated Jewish survivors.”

The song and prayer in modern times

President Donald Trump then went on to explain how “God Bless America” has become a song people have turned to throughout the history of our nation, especially in times of trouble.

“It’s the prayer that Americans sang as we faced down communism and as we came together as one nation after 9/11,” Trump said.

“It’s the prayer that still unites us today and the hope that burns bright in our hearts because we are proud American patriots. We love this magnificent nation with every ounce of our strength, spirit, and soul.”

Pray for America, our military and allies

President Trump then asked the audience to pray for the United States, its military, its veterans and our allies, especially Israel.

“So tonight, together, we ask that God bless our military,” President Trump told the audience. “We ask that God bless our veterans. We ask that God bless our cherished ally, the State of Israel. And with our flag-waving high, our people standing tall, and our faith forever strong, we say our prayer once more: God bless America, our home sweet home.”