Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne

FOR THE WEEK OF September 17, 2001

DEAR JERRY: There is nothing much left to be said about the catastrophic attack on the United States on September 11, but these recent events brought to mind an old recording that I'd like you to identify.

It may have come out during the Viet Nam War, I'm not sure. Regardless, it is a recitation about how the Americans are not appreciated as much as they ought to be, considering how often the U.S. comes to the aid of other nations in times of need.

It would also be great if you would provide the text of this. I'll bet it is as appropriate today as when it first came out.

More than 6,000 innocent, non-military citizens killed, and the enemy is dancing in the streets. Shame on them.

We'll see who's left standing after the dance is over.
—Kenneth Maslow, Chicago, Ill

DEAR KENNETH: The recording to which you refer is “The Americans,” written by legendary Canadian broadcaster, Gordon Sinclair, and originally broadcast June 5, 1973 on his “Let's Be Personal” radio program (CFRB, Toronto, Ontario).

Near the end of '73, Byron MacGregor, a CKLW (Windsor-Detroit) newsman, had his recitation of Sinclair's editorial out on record (Westbound 222). In no time, it made the American Top 5.

For the record, “The Americans” has nothing to do with Viet Nam.

Though some of the text is as true and appropriate today as 28 years ago, other portions are no longer accurate.

Here it is:

The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French, and British Exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971, and this Canadian thinks it's time to speak up for the Americans, as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

As long as 60 years ago when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtse. Who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did.

They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges, and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Mississippi is under water, and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help.

Germany, Japan, and to a lesser extent Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars, and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries in to help. Managua Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples.

So far this spring, 59 American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped.

The Marshall Plan, the Truman Policy, all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane.

C'mon, let's hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet? The Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas 10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all international lines, except Russia, fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man, or woman, on the moon?

You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you will find men on the moon — not once, but several times, and safely home again.

You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right there in the store window for everybody to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, most of them — unless they are breaking Canadian laws — are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home, to spend here.

When the Americans get up from this bind, as they will, who could blame them if they said “the hell with the rest of the world. Let someone else buy the Israel bonds. Let someone else build or repair foreign damns, or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes.”

When the railways of France, Germany, and India, were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

I can name you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who's damned tired of hearing them kicked around.

They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.

I hope Canada is not one of these, but there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians.

And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th annual meeting in New Orleans, that was broke.

This year's disasters have taken it all — and nobody but nobody has helped.

DEAR JERRY: Two of the best of the patriotic recordings is Johnny Sea's “Day for Decision,” and Victor Lundberg's “Open Letter to My Teenage Son” — both from the turbulent mid-'60s.

I still have my copy of the Lundberg Liberty 45, but would like to know if “Day for Decision” is available on CD.
—Gloria Rossington, Las Vegas, Nev. DEAR GLORIA: The Grammy-nominated “Day for Decision” (Warner Bros. 5820), a Top 40 hit from mid-1966, is currently available on compact disc.

After the success of the single, an album bearing the same title followed (Warner Bros. 1659), and it has been issued on CD. The title, however, has been changed to “American Reflections” (Lost Gold LGR-4339).

Another recently-issued CD, “The Good Years: Volume One,” from Cross and Grave Ranch Brand Records, features 24 of Johnny's finest country tunes. Fortunately, this set does not duplicate the Warner Bros. tracks.

IZ ZAT SO? Gordon Sinclair's own reading (Avco 4628) also did quite well, making the Top 25.

Upon hearing it, then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan said: “I know I speak for all Americans in saying the radio editorial Gordon wrote in 1973 praising the accomplishments of the United States was a wonderful inspiration. It was not only critics abroad who forgot this nation's many great achievements, but even critics here at home. Gordon Sinclair reminded us to take pride in our nation's fundamental values.”

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page