99-Year-Old WWII Vet Brings Crowd to Its Feet with Incredible Rendition of 'God Bless America'

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A 99-year-old World War II veteran’s rendition of “God Bless America” at a Pennsylvania minor league baseball game on Tuesday night has gone viral.

“Raymond T. Mohr, who served as a radio operator with the Army’s 29th Infantry Division and landed on Omaha Beach the day after D-Day, received a standing ovation from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ crowd after the touching performance,” Fox News reported.

The IronPigs are a Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies located in Allentown.

The team shared a video of Mohr singing the song on its Facebook page on Tuesday night, describing it as an “incredible moment.” The video has already garnered over 100,000 views and has been picked up by various media outlets.

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Team catcher Nick Rickles also posted a picture of himself shaking Mohr’s hand at the military appreciation night game.

“God Bless America” was written by playwright and World War I veteran Irving Berlin during the final year of the conflict in 1918.

He had intended to use it in an all-soldier revue called “Yip, Yip, Yaphank,” but decided it did not fit and shelved the tune for 20 years, according to Sheryl Kaskowitz, the author of “God Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song.”

Do you appreciate Mohr's performance?

In 1938, with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany on the rise in Europe, Berlin decided it was time to dust it off.

The song was first performed by Kate Smith during an Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) commemoration, marking the anniversary of the end of World War I.

The opening lyrics, which are not often sung, were particularly poignant at the time with the storm clouds of war rising in Europe as Germany seized Austria in the spring of 1938. Additionally, Japan was on the march in Asia, entering into a full-scale war with China in 1937.

“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,” Berlin’s song begins. “Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”

“God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above. From the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam. God bless America, my home sweet home. God bless America, my home sweet home.”

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The patriotic ballad first appeared on the big screen in 1943’s World War II film “This is the Army” starring future President Ronald Reagan. The movie was based on Berlin’s 1942 Broadway musical of the same name.

The song became a staple at Reagan presidential campaign rallies in the 1980s.

“God Bless America” rose to the fore again following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, as it was sung at many public events including during the 7th inning stretch at major league baseball games.

The full version of the song was sung by actress and singer Megan Hilty at this year’s National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday night in Washington, D.C.

Watch below:

Watch the entire concert, which aired on PBS, here.

Berlin donated all the proceeds from the song to the Boy Scouts of America.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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