“Remember America,” “Born in America,” and “Freedom Bird Fly”
How did these great songs for freedom / America come about?
By Neil Brian Goldberg
I would like to write something to explain my feelings about America, and how these songs for freedom and the real America came about.
When I think back about my parents who were both factory workers in the garment district in Philadelphia, my heart is filled with love and appreciation when I think about how hard they struggled to give their children every chance they could. They helped me fulfill my dreams to learn how to sing and to play the guitar by paying for my voice and guitar lessons. So that their children could live in a better area, my parents commuted two hours every day to work and back. Even so, my dad always found time to drive me to my voice lessons and waited patiently to drive me back home.
I was one of the best dressed kids in school, but only because my
parents, who were so talented, made my clothes—which were as sharp as the
best money could buy. They always supported and encouraged me.
These songs for America and freedom were also born out of my deepest
gratitude and devotion to the country that raised me up, educated me,
protected me, and allowed a poor kid from hard working, struggling parents,
to come up through the music industry and make a real contribution to this
society and to the world—and to make a good living while doing it.
Where else but in our wonderful, free America could these dreams be realized. I thank God that I was “Born In America.” Be sure to “Remember America,” and most of all, let the "Freedom Bird Fly!”
Born in America
When I was protesting against the Vietnam War, I became somewhat confused between being against the war and being against my country. I never felt against America, but in the passion of “The Movement,” I had subtle confusion.
My favorite person in the world, along with my mother, was my Jewish grandmother, my Bubby, a very religious and wise woman. One day when I was visiting, she was lying on the sofa, not feeling very well, and called me to her side. Bubby did not say, “Don’t protest,” etc, but instead, she told me this story of when she was a girl in Russia.
“I had a beautiful brother,” she said, “and the Communists beat him to death on the street in front of me, because he was a Jew. That’s when I knew I had to leave Russia.” She told me how she crawled under a barbed wire fence when the Communist guard was looking the other way, and how America took her in when she had no where in the world to go.
One of the last things she said to me as she was dying was that she wanted me to remember her. I remember you Bubby, and I remember what you told me in “Thank God I was ‘Born In America.’”
Not long after that, I traveled with my wife to many other countries for the first time. The trip became very hard, very troublesome, and nowhere did I find the Spirit of Freedom or the Spirit of America.
When I finally arrived back to the gates of America, bedraggled and bleary eyed, looking like something the cat may not have wanted to drag in, from all I had been through, the good old American customs agent said, “Welcome Home!” I truly wanted to get down on my hands and knees and kiss the ground of my beloved, wonderful America, except that I thought it would embarrass my wife, so I willfully restrained myself.
After all that I saw abroad of the tyranny of the powerful few over all others, it was obvious to me that the same greed and lust for power would surely attempt to re-define America into what I saw and despised overseas. So came “Remember America,” which is meant to be a warning, the sounding of an alarm way before it’s time, and now (except for the Divine intervention which will occur) it is already too late.
Freedom Bird Fly
I resumed my good and free life in America, but now realizing and fully appreciating what I had. I could not help but write down what was already written on my heart (as were the other America songs) “Freedom Bird Fly.”
Excerpts from Neil’s book “Fight For The Dream” © 1992/2002
There is a treasure of goodness in America. There are ideals and values which though tarnished by neglect are still as rare and precious as ever. These are the ideals of fairness and the right of the pursuit of happiness. The ideals that all people should have the same chance to try their best at whatever they want to do. The ideal that the government is the servant of the people, not the oppressor. The American ways of rooting for the underdog and despising all forms of tyranny.
Americans love fair play and good competition. Hard work and overcoming adversity are American traits, as is having a good time.
An entire book could be written on all of the different ideas and ways to improve our country. Instead, let's just apply the same principles to this subject as we did to the other subjects in this book.
First of all, what do we have here? What is its value?
America is the real thing. It is the land where a man or woman can feel free, and where a person still has rights -- and the right to fight, argue and petition -- for more rights. It is where even the wealthy and powerful can be defeated by a single little citizen, if the truth is on his side.
There are imitations everywhere these days. There is tin which looks like gold and glass which looks like diamonds. Don't throw America away. Don't take something new and shiny in its place. Look at it. What is its value?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Where will you ever find another one? It is one of a kind and it is as precious and beautiful as ever. It just needs to be cleaned, polished, and handled with reverence.
Bring out all of the best wherever you see it. Find the best leaders and bring them forward, the ones with the great hearts as well as the great abilities.
Remember, Americans, that the reason we have been so blessed for all of these years with such amazing harvests is because the American farmers prayed hard for God's blessing on their harvests. When they celebrated Thanksgiving, they were really thankful because they could see first-hand God giving them the harvest. They knew what it would have meant had the harvest not come through. If the American family farmers disappear so will their prayers for the harvests. "The watchman waketh in vain, unless God keepeth the city" and the corporate conglomerates plow in vain unless God blesses the weather and the crops.
America is the symbol of freedom and hope and abundance to the struggling people of this troubled world. Do not throw away your country. Treasure her and all that is good about her. Make her shine again by letting her true brilliance show. That is the light of liberty and the gems of freedom . . . the true worth of America.
Do not be fooled and don't trade her for an imitation which is described by the same words but does not have the real thing -- the glow of freedom.
There is no substitute. There is only one. Guard it and treasure it as a most prized possession. Never sell her -- you would lose everything. Never trade her -- not even for the promise of peace and prosperity. You wouldn't be happy with the trade and you could only get the bad end of the deal.
If you want to stand up for America do so after a prayer on your knees, then stand up for true liberty and for true justice -- the ingredients for freedom. Stand up for America where God is thanked and honored publicly. Stand up for purity, excellence, and for goodness, wherever you see them.
Resist that which hurts others in various ways and only for its own selfish interest. Resist that which takes unfair advantage and those who abuse power, especially power granted by the voters.
Recycle America and "Let righteousness flow like mighty waters." Resist that which is unclean, vulgar, perverted, brutal, heartless, and selfishly arrogant. All of these impurities must first be overcome within ourselves and then whenever possible as we encounter them along our way.
Contribute in some way, no matter how small, but contribute in some way to the removal of that which is tyrannical and therefore anti-American.
Support in some way that which you see as being positive, idealistic, strong, generous, brave, and as having wisdom. These things are true American traits.
Precious and irreplaceable, one of a kind, given into your hands. Pull her out now and handle her with care. Things of true value can always shine again . . . America is your blessing.
We are at war and the battle is now . . . Fight my friend, whether you are Christian, or Muslim, or Jew, and whether you are this race or that.
If you love what America is supposed to be, if you still believe in the land of the free, with liberty and justice for all, and if you care about the continuation of the greatest, freest, most inspiring national heritage in history – fight - because the battle is now -- for all that is good, decent, and truly American.
Fight the economic tyrants who are stealing your nation. Think war. Your efforts; the letters you write – the emails you send – the conversations you have – and where you spend and give your money – and how you vote, for the cause of freedom are your bullets, missiles, and bombs. Fire away. Use these non-violent weapons well and you won't be forced someday to use real ones in your own streets.
Should my book “Fight For The Dream” become published with copies lying around many years from now, I have just one question for the reader, now and for as long as this Earth turns:
“…OH SAY DOES THAT STAR SPANGLED BANNER YET WAVE – O’ER THE LAND OF THE FREE, AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE’
FIGHT FOR THE DREAM