The son of a rabbi, he was born May 11, 1888. At 4-years-old, he immigrated with his family from Russia to New York. Falling in love with America, he served as a U.S. infantry sergeant in World War I.
He later wrote some of the nation’s most popular songs, including:
“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”;
“Alexander’s Ragtime Band”;
“There’s No Business like Show Business”; and
Who was he? Irving Berlin.
Irving Berlin wrote the Broadway musical, “This is the Army,” which was made into a 1943 film starring Ronald Reagan. President Harry S. Truman awarded Irving Berlin the Army’s Medal of Merit in 1945 for: “Extraordinary service as creator and producer of the musical revue, This Is the Army.”
Irving Berlin wrote the patriotic hymn “God Bless America” in 1917. It was introduced to the public in 1938 when Kate Smith sang it on an Armistice Day radio broadcast.
Irving Berlin gave all the royalties from the song, over $100,000, to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a Congressional Bill awarding Irving Berlin a Congressional Gold Medal:
“In recognition of his services in composing many popular songs, including ‘God Bless America.'”
Upon receiving the medal, February 19, 1955, Irving Berlin commented to President Eisenhower: “To me, ‘God Bless America’ was not just a song but an expression of my feeling toward the country to which I owe what I have and what I am.”