Gurney's Inn
July 02, 2014

Jerry's Ink


O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam,

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

I have been lied to and manipulated by every president in my lifetime, starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I'm a staunch Republican. I was and am a George W. fan. He reminded me of Harry Truman, who was one of the three great presidents of my lifetime (Eisenhower and Reagan being the other two). I'm a renegade Republican who believes you cannot have too conservative a president, nor too liberal a Supreme Court. 

This stance makes me no friends on either side of the political spectrum. Frankly, I don't care.

I don't trust anyone whose job depends on votes and can fold under fire from a lobbyist or a pressure group.

That means when it comes to my freedom I don't trust any politician. I rely on the nine members of the Supreme Court to guard my freedom and protect me from any weak, scheming president and any dumber-than-dirt Congress.

No one can come up with more conspiracy theories than I can. I'm a child of the '60s, waiting for the first bad flashback they promised me, and all I'm getting are warm memories.

I'm a pessimist, a skeptic, a cynic.

This is a long way of telling you how much I'm affected by the Independence Day holiday and the words of the song printed above. The music, the words and the sentiment never fail to bring me to tears.

It started when I was almost too young to understand it. I'm the child of immigrants who bought the dream of those words for me and for my children and for my children's children. They picked the only country in the world where dreams truly do come true.

For many of the early years when I lived in East Hampton, I threw a party at my house for my friends on the Fourth of July so we could watch the gorgeous fireworks display from Main Beach. Every year I would play music that worked with the fireworks.

I would spend days working on my fireworks playlist.

Every year my music and the sparkling light show would sync perfectly and I would watch the faces of my friends looking up to the sky with the colors of fireworks reflected on their faces.

Every year I would see tears streaming down some of the faces.

The year after 9/11 there were more memories and more tears.

Sadly, the East Hampton fireworks were stopped a few years ago, and thousands of people are missing out on a patriotic rite that we need now more than ever.

If you live in a town on the East End where the town fathers choose to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, this is the music you must play as the fireworks go off.

"Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin

"Amazing Grace" by Tramaine Hawkins

"God Bless America" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

"America the Beautiful" by Charlie Rich

"America the Beautiful" by Elvis Presley.

And finally, at the finale, when the sky is booming and the earth is trembling – with the sound at its loudest and the sky filled with stars – play:

"God Bless America" by Kate Smith.

And finally:

"America the Beautiful" by Ray Charles.

Just wait until you hear that fat, old, anti-Semitic fascist Kate Smith singing "God Bless America." She was a pig but could she sing.

She sang the words of this wonderful song with great verve and great feeling and you can celebrate that Kate Smith never got the ugly intolerant America she wanted.

And saving the best for last, listen as the great Ray Charles sends chills down your spine as you hear him singing the greatest version of "America the Beautiful" ever recorded.

Then do as I do and whisper to yourself, "America is the best place in the world. It will outlive any politician who doesn't think so."

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink" please send your message to

  1. print email
    You were a child of the 60's?
    July 02, 2014 | 12:59 PM

    I thought you were already in your 30's in the 60'

  2. print email
    My 4th of July Playlist
    July 03, 2014 | 11:32 PM

    Jerry ... I love you man, but commentator Philip is exactly right. You were in your 30's in the 60's, when I was a teenager in high school.

    So no wonder that your 4th of July playlist includes the likes of George Gershwin, Kate Smith, Elvis Presley, and Ray Charles.

    My favorite summer 4th playlist, then and still now, can be summed up with just one band ... The Young Rascals!

    "Good Lovin'"
    "A Beautiful Morning"
    "How Can I Be Sure"
    "People Got to Be Free"

    So, let's all forget the politics and patriotic bullshit we're in this weekend and just have some fun. Maybe spin a few Rascals songs to remember happier times in America. Best always, Bill

    Bill Crandall
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