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Marking this Memorial Day holiday with Kate Smith and her 'God Bless America'

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"Hello, everybody."

This being Memorial Day and Memorial Day being a day for remembering, we are going back in time with a special holiday video. Actually, two.

They feature Kate Smith, a plus-size singer who was proud of herself and her big voice. "I'm big and I sing," she said, "and, boy, when I sing, I sing all over."

Smith's musical career, marked by a joyful kind of patriotism, spanned more than five decades, until her death in 1986. So popular was this recording, radio and TV artist that the other day, as our colleague Christie D'Zurilla noted over at the Ministry of Gossip, the Postal Service issued a Kate Smith postage stamp.

Smith's theme song was "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain," which she actually helped write. But her lasting fame came from a rousing rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America." If you're like us, on a holiday weekend like this, one listen to this vibrant video is probably insufficient.

Smith once proudly predicted that her full-throated version of this piece of classic American music would be played long after her passing.

In two weeks, it'll be 24 years. Kinda looks like she was right.

There's another Kate Smith musical video below for those who want a little bit more.

-- Andrew Malcolm

And may God bless all free men and women in uniform. Happy Holiday. Click here to receive Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Follow us @latimestot  Or Like our Facebook page right here.

Photo: American Cemetery above Omaha Beach in France. Credit: Getty Images

 
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Every time I hear Kate Smith singing "God Bless America " I full up with so much Pride and Gratitude, her voice always reminds me of the Cost Everyone has made for their Freedom, The Troops in and out of this Beautiful Country who Continue to Protect Us, to the Everyday Man/Woman who struggle to keep their Families alive and well, and to the Immigrant like my Father, who came to this Country Believing in an new Life.
All have Paid a price.
And when She sings, You hear it in her Voice too, God Blessed her with a voice.
God Bless America. It is my Home.

(AM responds: Lena, glad you feel the same. I get chills EVERY time I hear her sing that song, especially the little-known first verse. Thanks for reading.)

Kate Smith is probably most remembered and beloved in Philadelphia, where her version of "God Bless America" has been played before Philadelphia Flyers games for the last 40 years. She remains the team's "good luck charm". When the U.S. Postal Service announced the "Kate Smith stamp", they made the announcement in front of the Kate Smith statue in Philadelphia.

Sadly, we are wasting the spilled blood of all those who died to preserve freedom in this country. How long will God continue to bless us when He set us free, only to enslave ourselves to the state once again?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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