Staten Island's Grimm, artist add fuel to Justin Bieber song controversy
The following appeared in today’s Staten Island Advance:
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Patriotic Staten Islanders refuse to let the Justin Bieber song controversy die.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) is looking to go to PS 90 in Brooklyn on Monday to talk to students about his experience serving in the military in wartime and to give each of them a copy of a book based on the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA."
PS 90 principal Greta Hawkins started a national controversy when she bounced the patriotic ballad from a kindergarten graduation ceremony while allowing a song by 'tween pop star Bieber to remain.
She said she didn't want to offend other cultures by including the Greenwood song.
After hearing of Grimm's opposition to the decision, Greenwood and Tate Publishing contacted the congressman and offered to donate 115 copies of the artist's book "Does God Still Bless the USA?" for all the kindergarten students at PS 90.
"As a Marine combat veteran, a former FBI agent and member of Congress, I have dedicated my life to serving this country and defending our flag," said Grimm. "Like many Americans, I have put my life in harm's way to defend this nation and would do so again without hesitation. We should never ever apologize for being Americans, and we should certainly never ask our children to hide or silence their pride. It is reassuring to know that so many Americans, including Lee Greenwood, share my sentiments."
He called the Greenwood song "a testimony to the strength and resilience of our nation," which had served as inspiration to Americans in times of conflict, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11.