Come visit us at The Museum of Military Memorabilia. Our Naples Municipal Airport location displays a just a fraction of the artifacts we have available. Here are some of our current showcases which highlight WWII Aviation.

2012 marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Naples Airport as a WWII Army Air Forces Training Base.

Kate Smith and “God Bless America”

Wow!!! You don’t want to miss this, but be careful . . . it might
bring a tear or two to your eyes.
Some of you are too young to know of Kate Smith but she was a
well loved singer many years ago. This video shows the beginning
performance of God Bless America.
As you watch the video you will also see several movie stars
from this era – BEFORE they became big name stars in show
But before you watch, you should also know the story of the
The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic
depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans
were afraid they’d have to go to war.
It was a time of hardship and worry. This was the era just before TV,
when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios
in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was a bigger star than Kate Smith.
Kate was a very patriotic person and it hurt her to see Americans so
depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for
America, and faith in her fellow Americans.
She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went
to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin (who also
wrote “White Christmas”) and asked him to write a song that
would make Americans feel good again about their country.
When she described what she was looking for, he said he
had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that
he had written, but never published, 22 years before – way back in 1917.
He gave it to Kate Smith and she worked on it with her
studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the
song would be received by the public, but both agreed they
would not take any profits from God Bless America.
Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over
the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions and millions
of dollars in royalties from this song.

This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio
studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song
for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple of verses,
with her still singing in the background, scenes are shown from the 1940
movie, “You’re In The Army Now.”
At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting
in an office, reading a paper. It is Ronald Reagan.
Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said
when he and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on
the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away
a tear or two.
To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country.
Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow
Americans, I doubt she realized just how successful the results would be during those
years of hardship and worry, and for many generations of Americans to follow.
Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you will enjoy it and treasure it even more.




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