Songs We Sang in Assembly

I remember the days when I was in elementary school at PS 22 on Staten Island - that lonely island borough of the great city that is called New York. I remember around this time of the year we would sing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" in the school auditorium to celebrate St Patrick's Day. It was a simpler time back then.. right and wrong were so much clearer to me back then. We would all wear green that day.. except of course my Italian American friends who would wear purple - I am smiling just remembering those shirts and their proud ethnic attitudes.

You see, that was a time when television was in it's infancy.. there was no global understanding and connectedness.. our world was those who we interacted with on a day-to-day basis.. our classmates and the kids on the block.. and we all seemed to have an ethnic heritage - mine was Welsh/Irish.. John, Nick and Tom had an Italian ancestry.. Ray had a Puerto Rican one.. Ronnie was African American.. Steve was Polish.. we were different but the same.

Another ghastly thing we did back then was to sing the "The Easter Parade" song when we were assembled together.. I don't think anyone really liked singing these songs.. at least the boys didn't.. but we all sang the songs. I even remember singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the anthems from the different branches of the service - my favorite was the Marine Corps song where we sang something about Caissons rolling along. I also remember singing our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.. I so loved singing that one even back then.

Not sure what it was about that time that brings back warm memories.. certainly all was not right - we kids did not understand the ramifications of forcing our Jewish classmates (or any child for that matter) to sing Christian songs or saying the Lord's prayer - it is good that schools no longer do those things. Yet I do sometimes wish that my grandchildren could go back to PS 22 with me even if just for a day and sing that Marine Corps Anthem with me in assembly.. I think that they would enjoy it.

Did you sing songs in elementary school? What was your most/least favorite?


  1. I remember singing a lot of patriotic songs "The Saints Come Marching", "This Land is My Land", "America the Beautiful" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (can you imagine them singing that in today's public school? I'm sure someone would be sued over it).

  2. Way back in the "Dark Ages" we sang every song imaginable. Many have stayed in my head. Sometimes I wish I had a switch to turn some of them off. When I was young I really didn't realize that people were any different than I was and I must have done soem duzzies of politically incorrect things.
    I have always loved to sing and am glad I had that foundation.

  3. I LOVED singing at school. Our music class was the highlight of my week. We sang the National Anthem every morning. I was tickled last year when I joined my daughter's class in the morning to chaperon a field trip and the kids stood up to sing the National Anthem, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and then the teacher selected one child to request another patriotic song and they sang God Bless the USA. This is the routine in most of the classrooms at their school.

  4. Where do you folks come from? When did the federal government outlaw the singing of "The Marines' Hymn" and "America The Beautiful" in our public schools?

  5. We sang all those AND we sang Havah Nagilah, the Jewish folk tune, too! There was another Jewish song we sang that I can't call up enough in my memory to name now. And at a Catholic school! We were told that we were appreciating all the music of all kinds of people, and our little brains could wrap themselves around the concept and not immediately be offended and say we were being "forced" into accepting anything religious!


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