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God Bless AmericaThe Surprising History of an Iconic Song$
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Sheryl Kaskowitz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199919772

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199919772.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 April 2021

My Home Sweet Home

My Home Sweet Home

Commemoration, Coercion, and Commerce after 9/11

(p.93) Chapter 5 My Home Sweet Home
God Bless America

Sheryl Kaskowitz

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 explores the profusion of post-9/11 uses of “God Bless America,” beginning with the spontaneous Congressional performance on the steps of the Capitol that anointed the song as a vehicle for public mourning. Drawing on surveys and interviews of former members of Congress, the chapter attempts to discover the origins of that poignant sing-along, exploring the nature of memory, commemoration, and the role of communal singing along the way. The chapter also examines the reasons behind the newfound popularity of the song before turning to the dissent against it by those who felt that its commemorative uses represented a breach of the separation between church and state. The chapter then explores the song’s meaning in a post–9/11 world, from its use to convey support for the War on Terror to its complicated functions during Obama’s first campaign and early presidency.

Keywords:   God Bless America, 9/11, September 11th, post-9/11, Congress, Capitol, memory, commemoration, public mourning, communal singing, popularity, dissent, church and state, War on Terror, Obama

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