It was 1941 and this was a top hit at that time.
Sure - the rest of the world was at war but the United States had somehow managed to avoid getting drawn into the conflicts of others. Secure in our country's growth, captains of innovation and industry - we were young, hopeful, happy and...naive.
We danced to the Big Bands - carefree.
Until the morning of December 7, 1941. The world came to the front door of the United States and, being the kind of people that we Americans are, we answered the door. We answered with military power and the firm resolve of the entire population that we would prevail.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.
And the world - and the United States - were never the same.
Released in the middle of 1941, this song was meant to keep up the spirits of Americans during a time when the Nazis were stomping all over Europe and the news was frightening and shocking. By 1942 it was a wartime radio staple.
By 1944, deeply into the war on multiple fronts, this song found its way into the American lexicon as one of the most beautiful, tender and searingly haunting songs ever written.
Ironically it was written in 1938 when the innocence of the American people was surely intact. And yet by the time we were drawn unwillingly into WWII - this song spoke to our precious warriors and their loved ones as a way to remain connected even though the odds of being reunited were slim.
Music has been a sustaining force during war time since the first musician tightened a string onto a piece of wood. It will remain ever thus as it unites us at a foundational level - it speaks a language of its own that creates ties that bind people together.
Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
2,402 Americans gave their lives.
1,282 survived with scars that would remain with them for the rest of their lives.
They will never be forgotten.