What’s the most stirring Fourth of July song you’ve ever heard? It’s a question people tend to ponder this time of year.
All over the nation, folks gather for family barbecues and brilliant fireworks displays. Patriotic tunes play a big part in most of these celebrations.
Our country’s own national anthem often tops the list. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key after witnessing the British attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
Another huge favorite is “God Bless the U.S.A.” This Lee Greenwood standard often swells majestically as the sky fills with sparkling red, white, and blue illuminations.
Some people enjoy lighter, more reflective fare. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is one beloved example, written and sung by the late John Denver.
But for many, the tune that ties them all together is “God Bless America.” And recently, two Boston police officers lifted these sterling lyrics to brand new heights.
Many find this song so moving that it’s often considered America’s unofficial national anthem.
But the song would not be published until 20 years later, when Berlin dusted it off as fascism and war threatened the country. He explained to journalists, “I’d like to write a great peace song,” and reshaped the old song into “God Bless America.”
The New York Times once reported that Berlin spoke of his family as being quite poor. But he marveled at the way his mother would say “God Bless America” with a level of ardent emotion that “was almost exultation.”
“Exultant” is actually an apt way to describe the reaction people had to a video posted by the Boston Police Department. A short snippet showed two BPD officers presenting their own incredible rendition of “God Bless America.”
Officers Kim Tavares and Stephen McNulty drove their patrol car through the venerable city, as it prepared to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
“I love the Fourth of July festivities,” Tavares remarked, sitting behind the wheel.
“Oh it’s the best,” McNulty replied, “it’s the unofficial start to summer.”
The pair then began musing over their own favorite patriotic songs, and Berlin’s tune was instantly mentioned.
As the vehicle made its way across town, the two hummed a few experimental notes and agreed upon a key. And that’s when things got pretty amazing.
Tavares started things off, and McNulty seamlessly added a series of splendid harmonies.
Judging from the likes and shares that flooded social media, Americans everywhere reverently admired their polished delivery.
But for these two dedicated officers, it’s all in a day’s work — a melodic display they’ve affectionately dubbed “Cop Pool Karaoke.”
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