WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) – While the Philadelphia Flyers will stop playing Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” at games following racism allegations, one Jersey Shore mayor said Monday he will continue to play her song on the boardwalk. Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano told The Dom Giordano Program on WPHT 1210 that Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” will continue to be played on the boardwalk every morning.
“I’m just a small-town mayor and I look at what’s happening to the world and it’s amazing how everyone wants to rewrite history, no one wants to allow history to be an educator to help us improve in the future. We’re going to change history and what we don’t like we’re just going to erase,” Troiano said.
It’s a controversial topic right now. But everyone Eyewitness News spoke with in Wildwood agreed with the mayor’s decision to continue to let Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” play this summer.
“I do not feel as though she was racist at all,” Philadelphia resident Ronald Watt said.
“It’s a patriotic song that has nothing to do with anything other than America,” Troiano said.
Smith died more than 30 years ago, but she’s now at the center of a racism controversy after songs titled “Pickaninny Heaven” and “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” resurfaced from the 1930s.
In light of this, the Philadelphia Flyers pulled Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” and her statue was removed from outside the arena this past weekend.
The Yankees pulled Smith’s version of the song, as well.
One Wildwood resident believes the country is too quick to judge instead of choosing forgiveness.
“If we hold her to the stake for her songs from something that was in the 1930s — and even now, she’s dead and gone — then we’re going to be held accountable when is all said and done. It’s like you’re casting judgement on her just because you may sin differently,” Carlissa Bell said.
As summer quickly approaches, those visiting and those who choose to call Wildwood home say they’ll continue to come down to the shore.
“I do know if she found God, I say you know what? God bless America, as well,” Bell said.
Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” plays everyday during the summer at 11 a.m.