Even if you can’t recite the first verse, I’m certain that you know the chorus.
Read this and I’m sure your mind will start hearing the song. Warning: It may stay with you for the rest of the day.
Here are the first four lines of the chorus:
And I’m proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me.
In your head, isn’t it?
For those of us in the United States, it’s one of the most powerful, patriotic songs ever. Whatever your background and whatever your political party, you likely are swept by the emotion of the song and its sentiment.
It was written years ago by Lee Greenwood. He has since sung that song all over the world. For Presidents. In stadiums. On a plane’s intercom flying over the World Trade Center site. In dangerous situations around the world.
A few weeks ago, I had one of those days. You know what I’m talking about. You’re going to a meeting when someone suddenly cuts you off. You decide to grab a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks. Instead of moving at the normal fast pace, the line seems to take forever. Finally getting your coffee, you glance at your watch and think you have just enough time to make it to the meeting. But when you rush back out to your car, you find someone has decided to park behind you. After locating the offending car owner, you are back on your way only to get a phone call asking if you could delay the meeting until tomorrow.
Life’s frustrations. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget what truly matters.
During this particularly frustrating day, I heard something that immediately changed my point of view. Immaculee Ilibagiza was visiting Nashville in a few weeks. Just thinking of her story changed my perspective in an instant.
Do you know her story?
One of the Most Powerful Stories I’ve Ever Heard
Immaculee grew up in Rwanda and had a fairly normal life until 1994 when everything changed. Hutu extremists seized control of power and began a genocide that would rip her world apart. Immaculee hid for 91 days with seven other women in a small bathroom as killers searched for them.
By all accounts, Robert Goolrick has lived a difficult life. Writing the word “difficult” doesn’t begin to do justice to some of the horrors he experienced as a child. The depth of family dysfunction in his childhood is impossible to communicate in a few words. He wrote a detailed account of these depths in his first published book, The End of the World as We Know It. Pick your poison and he tasted it: neglect, sexual abuse, alcoholic parents, not to mention the filth, the rats, the despair.
Robert overcame all these obstacles and went on to become an advertising executive and then a best-selling author. His book A Reliable Wife was a #1 New York Times bestseller and was widely praised by critics. When I asked him how he overcame such great odds, he credited a strong imagination and strong interior life.
The subtitle of the book sums it up well: “A step by step guide for anyone with something to say or sell.” It’s a book for small business owners who need to increase their visibility. It’s a book for aspiring authors who want to publish and sell their book. It’s a book for anyone who needs to differentiate a product or service and stand out using modern technology.
Michael wrote it because, as a publisher, he would turn away excellent work because the prospective author didn’t have a platform. Where “Content is king,” he says, “A platform is queen.” He wanted to write a book that would help people build their own platform.