When my father was alive, he loved a great musical. In particular, the performance of James Cagney as George M. Cohan in the film Yankee Doodle Dandy. Last year, one of the great old single-screen theaters here in New Orleans that is experiencing a re-birth of sorts, the Prytania Theater, ran the film over the Independence Day weekend, and I had the thrill of watching the movie with my 12 year-old son – the favorite movie of his grandfather whom he’d never met.
George M. Cohan received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1936 for the inspiration that his songs such as “Grand Old Flag” and “Over There” provided to our troops during WWI, and Cagney won an academy award for his performance of Cohan in 1942. On this day when we remember those who lost their lives in the service of our nation, I have posted this medley of Cohan’s songs that demonstrate the power of music in inspiring patriotism, including still photos from the movie: