On This Day: Lee Greenwood Performs ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ on Navy Aircraft Carrier in 2001

by Clayton Edwards

Lee Greenwood helped former first lady Nancy Reagan christen the USS Ronald Reagan twenty years ago today. The former first lady was joined by then-President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush for the occasion. After Mrs. Reagan cracked the ceremonial champagne on the ship’s rail, Greenwood belted his signature hit, “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Hundreds of military personnel and political figures were also on hand for the christening of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship was not ready to hit the seas at the time. However, the celebration came on the day of the Reagans’ forty-ninth wedding anniversary. So, it was as if the United States Navy was celebrating the momentous occasion along with the happy couple. Lee Greenwood’s performance was just the icing on the cake.

Lee Greenwood is Patriotism Defined

Greenwood’s career spans almost five decades. He has released over twenty albums on major labels according to AllMusic. He has charted dozens of songs over the years. However, most people know him for his patriotic hit song “God Bless the USA.” Lee Greenwood has performed the song at countless events. His signature tune has been the soundtrack to World Series games, presidential inaugurations, and just about any other event celebrating the American spirit. Even those who aren’t familiar with Greenwood or country music, in general, will know at least the refrain of this classic hit song.

Many Americans could stand to learn a thing or two from Lee Greenwood. While he is a registered Republican and open about his conservative views, his love for this great nation comes first. He exhibits this, in part, by his vast number of performances and varied audiences. For example, he has performed for several presidents. He sang his patriotic hit several times for Donald Trump. Then, he performed at the Biden inauguration earlier this year. This, in and of itself, is very telling.

You don’t need to be told how deep the political division has been in America over the past few years. So, seeing Lee Greenwood step up to the mic and do what he does for both Trump and Biden shows that he puts his country first. As a patriot, he looks past red and blue or left and right. He sets his eyes directly where they should be – on the proudly waving red, white, and blue.

When he sings about standing shoulder to shoulder with his fellow Americans to defend our home soil, he doesn’t qualify. He doesn’t say he’d gladly stand up next to you as long as you’re in the same party and vote the same way. No. He looks past the partisan division and gets straight to the heart of the matter. God bless the USA.