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Country singer Lee Greenwood on Monday blasted a Coney Island elementary school principal for preventing kindergartners from singing his “God Bless the USA” at their graduation, even after the children spent months learning the patriotic hit song.
The decision to strike the song from the proceedings at PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, was made by Principal Greta Hawkins, who reportedly also tried unsuccessfully to end the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of America the Beautiful at the school.
The New York Post wrote over the weekend how Hawkins “marched in on a recent rehearsal” and ordered a CD playing Greenwood’s song, also known as “Proud to be an American,” be shut off. The story went national after the Drudge Report linked to the Post’s article.
Insiders at the school told the Post that Hawkins objected to the song because “we don’t want to offend other cultures.” The Department of Education supported the principal’s decision because “the lyrics are not age-appropriate,” according to the Post, which mocked that notion because the principal and the education department have no objection to the kindergartners singing ‘Baby,’ Justin Bieber’s flirty song about teen romance,” at their graduation.
“I wrote ‘God Bless the USA’ about the love I have for this country and the struggle we have gone through to remain free,” Greenwood said Monday through his public-relations firm, Webster & Associates.
“Our country was founded on the principle that it welcomes people of all cultures and gives them the same rights we have as citizens. However, I feel compelled to echo the faith of our forefathers who all believed in God and a respect of a higher authority. Personally, denying the children of PS 90 to sing ‘God Bless the USA’ offends me as a Christian. My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride. How could that be wrong on any level?”
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