Faith and patriotism have always been firmly intertwined for Lee Greenwood, so his newest project seems like a perfect fit for the veteran entertainer best known for his iconic anthem “God Bless the USA.” The God Bless the USA Bible will be released in September to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and in addition to containing handwritten lyrics, the Bible will also include America’s “Founding Documents”—The Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It is a regular Bible. It will be leather bound, and it does say Holy Bible on the front,” Greenwood says, describing the new Bible during an interview at his lovely Franklin, TN home. “They are going to tie in ‘God Bless The USA’ and then it has a signature flag at the very bottom. They asked me on the inside cover if I’d write the lyrics for my song ‘God Bless the USA’ showing how faith and patriotism come together and so I did the chorus, ‘I’m proud to be an American, at least I know I’m free’ and so forth. The very back of the Bible, after the text is over, then we have the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Greenwood is pleased that the Bible will include documents that are so important to our nation’s heritage. “More than anything, it reflects on how we got started as a country, so when people are unfamiliar with those documents, they can at least briefly read through them and understand how this country was thinking when we formed the United States of America, the first 13 colonies, and eventually every state and how we got to where we are today,” he says. “This is a democracy. We can change who runs the country. We can amend the Constitution. We can change anything that pleases the population as we continue to grow as long as we stay together and stay free.”
Greenwood acknowledges faith played an important role in the founding of our country. “When you put them in the same pages as the Holy Bible, you recognize how we’re tied together,” he says of America’s founding documents. “Faith came to this nation when the immigrants came here. They did not come to escape religion. They escaped persecution. We are a nation based on faith, so I think this is very timely.”
As the nation prepares to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Greenwood remembers his first visit after the bombings, and he can still recall the scent of New York City in the aftermath of the tragedy. “The smell in the air, it was death,” he says solemnly. “A lot of people died. The destruction of the Towers was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe that they could come down that easily, but it was a terrorist bombing, and they used a tool that no one had ever thought before.”
Over the past two decades, Greenwood and his wife Kimberly have made numerous visits to the World Trade Center site. “I was there right after the attack on America, and I’ll be there again this year,” he says. “We go every couple years at the request of Mayor Giuliani and the former Police Commissioner.”
Greenwood wrote “God Bless the USA” on his bus and recorded the song on his 1984 album You’ve Got a Good Love Comin’. It was released as a single and became a hit that spring. The song has continued to re-surface over the years, becoming a prominent anthem during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991 and was included on his 1992 album American Patriot. The song has continued to inspire during times of national crisis, including 9/11. “God Bless the USA” has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001, and 2003), making it the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat.
“I think ‘God Bless the USA’ united this country like nothing else could have,” he says of the song becoming a rallying cry after the 9/11 attacks. “We went to New York several times after that and to Washington D.C. to see the disaster at the Pentagon and people were flying American flags,” he says. “They were so proud of the country, why weren’t they proud before? It’s because people get caught up in their lives and they forget about what it takes to be this country and that is you have to do what’s right, have faith and understand that this country stands for all of the rest of the countries. We are still the beacon of light that Ronald Reagan talked about. We are still the amazing free country built on the premise that we’re be different than anyone else.”
Greenwood has been working on new music he plans to release later this year, and like most country artists, he is preparing to hit the road this summer, although he admits he’s wrapping up that part of his career. “I’ve toured for almost 40 years. I don’t think that I want to tour much more, maybe another year and that’s it,” he says. “As a tribute to my career, we’re doing a special show this year, October 12th in Huntsville, AL at the Von Braun Center and I’ve invited over 40 artists to come and sing my music.”
Big & Rich, Lee Brice, Tracy Byrd, Riley Green, Dustin Lynch, Jamey Johnson, Sam Moore, The Oak Ridge Boys, Michael Ray and Mark Wills are among the artists already scheduled to celebrate Greenwood’s 40 years of hits. Greenwood says additional names will be added in the next month. He’s looking forward to the event, but he’s also looking forward to life beyond the stage. “I have a personal life. My wife and I have some dreams that we haven’t [fulfilled] because we’ve all worked so hard our entire life,” he says. “We’ve been married 29 years, have two boys in college and one now has proposed to his girlfriend. There are things coming, so I think to be free of my touring schedule it will allow me to have more time at home and more time with my family. I’ve been to the top of the mountain several times and it’s been a wonderful career. I’ve been very blessed and I’m thankful for that. I’m blessed with a wonderful family and I want to spend more time with them.”
For more on information on Greenwood’s new Bible, check out godblesstheusabible.com.