Belmont Club

"It Kinda Makes You Think of a Lot of Things"

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Postscript. From the comments: “A Filipino living in Oz remembers.” It wasn’t hard.  During World War 2 the Japanese spent a lot of time and effort trying to break the resistance without much luck. Wikipedia tells the story.

During the war, Japanese troops in the Philippines attempted to popularize self-glorifying songs such as Chichi Yo Anata Wa Tsuyokatta (“Father, You Were Brave” in English). Locals resisted these efforts, preferring instead to sing God Bless the Philippines to the tune of Berlin’s God Bless America as a show of national pride….

Berlin was touring U.S. military bases with a stage production of This Is the Army, in 1945. During a stop in the Philippines, he heard children in Leyte singing the song God Bless America (which he had written in 1918 and had revised in 1938) with the lyric “God Bless the Philippines”. Touched by that and feeling that they might like a song of their own, he composed Heaven Watch the Philippines, trying to combine the spiritual quality of God Bless America with their feeling for America and desire to be free. He taught the song to school children in Leyte and sang the song in the finale of the show when This Is the Army opened in Leyte. Berlin had donated the God Bless America royalties Boy Scouts of America, and he presented the rights to Heaven Watch the Philippines to the Commonwealth of the Philippines with the instruction that if they ever sold the song in the Philippines for profit, the proceeds were to be given to the Boy and Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

God Bless America has been sung on many times and occasions. But never I think, as then, under enemy occupation. Here are Irving Berlin’s lyrics for Heaven Watch the Philippines:

Heaven watch the Philippines.
Keep her safe from harm.
Guard her sons and their precious ones
In the city and on the farm.
Friendly with America.
Let her always be.
Heaven watch the Philippines.
And keep her forever free.

And keep her forever free.


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