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God Bless America

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Rating: 4.2/5

Her signature song, “God Bless America,” has been considered America’s unofficial national anthem. Today, Kate Smith, America’s “Song Bird of the South,” took center stage on a U.S. postage stamp as one of the nation’s most popular female singers. The stamp goes on sale nationwide today.

In a career that spanned almost five decades, Smith, a native of Washington, DC, recorded nearly 600 songs. At least 20 of her records sold more than a million copies, including three religious albums.

“Kate Smith and ‘God Bless America’ are forever intertwined and now, this legendary singer, entertainer, humanitarian and American icon, will be forever commemorated with a stamp in her honor,” said Postmaster General John Potter, during a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. “From this day forward, this wonderful, vivid image of Kate Smith in full 1960s performance mode, with an American flag added in the background, will travel quickly, easily and affordably on letters and packages throughout the nation.”

“We are a nation at war and everyone knows someone who is either deployed, returned from deployment or is preparing to deploy. They are our war heroes but we need those people who are the morale heroes, the ones who lift us up, bring us together, and unite us under a common purpose. Kate Smith did that for this country through music,” said Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph Westphal.

Smith started the first significant daytime television show in 1950 with the Kate Smith Hour, which was similar in nature to her radio show. She also hosted, in 1951 and 1952, the Kate Smith Evening Hour, which aired in prime time. She later appeared numerous times on The Ed Sullivan Show and was a guest on shows hosted by Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Jack Paar and the Smothers Brothers.

In 1973, toward the end of her career, Smith was invited to sing “God Bless America” at the opening of the Philadelphia Flyers’ hockey season. Players and fans considered her a good-luck charm, as the Flyers won many big games, including two Stanley Cups (1974 and 1975), when she sang. The team later built a bronze statue of her outside the Spectrum arena.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan presented Smith with the Medal of Freedom. She died in Raleigh, NC, on June 17, 1986, at age 79, after suffering for many years from diabetes. Smith was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.

The stamp art duplicates artwork created for the cover of a CD titled, “Kate Smith: The Songbird of the South.” The artwork was based on a photograph of Smith taken in the 1960s.

Source USPS.com

God Bless America , 4.2 out of 5 based on 11 ratings

published June 4th, 2010