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This is a repost of an article originally published on Philly Talk Radio Online

Gordon Sinclair - The Americans - 1973

Let's get right to the audio and then some additional background, notes, and links.

 

 

Page history and notes:

March 2008 - Archived original audio and story text here at PhillyTalk.com. A reader, Jennifer, prompted me by email to find the lost files and restore them.

September 15 2001 - After the tragic events of September 11, 2001 the traffic to this page and most other sites containing this commentary increased enormously. All audio links became overloaded. The page got over 28,000 hits in one day. Fortunately our resident radio expert, "Bucky Sparks" located a copy of this commentary with music behind it.

September 14 2001
Added link to vital stats on Mr. Sinclair -
(Who 2 .com contains an extensive index on numerous people and topics, a recommended resource for any talk host)

 

March 2000: This has been a popular page here. In March 2000, Nick Paris sent me new information (Original text) about Gordon Sinclair and his famous "Americans" speech. I include all the links from his research as well as copying it here.

January 1998 - First moved this commentary to Philly Talk Radio Online. Below this is my original first copy that my sister typed out for her school project (1974) ... I was only a kid at the time but I vividly remember it, I saved a yellowed and tattered copy and it was one of the first things I posted on the Net around 1993-94. At the bottom is another version sent in by Dan Carriker. Both of those are now superseded by new information.


"The Americans" - Original Script

 

"LET'S BE PERSONAL" Broadcast June 5, 1973 CFRB, Toronto, Ontario

Topic: "The Americans"

 

The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971 and this Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least-appreciated people in all the earth.

 

As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtze. Who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did.

 

They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Misssissippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

 

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

 

When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries into help... Managua Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples. So far this spring, 59 American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped.

 

The Marshall Plan .. the Truman Policy .. all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent war-mongering Americans.

 

I'd like to see one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes.

 

Come on... let's hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar or the Douglas 107? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or women on the moon?

 

You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times ... and safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everyone to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, most of them ... unless they are breaking Canadian laws .. are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend here.

 

When the Americans get out of this bind ... as they will... who could blame them if they said 'the hell with the rest of the world'. Let someone else buy the Israel bonds, Let someone else build or repair foreign dams or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes.

 

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.

 

Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

 

Our neighbours have faced it alone and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.

 

I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians. And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.

 

This year's disasters .. with the year less than half-over… has taken it all and nobody...but nobody... has helped.

 

ORIGINAL SCRIPT AND AUDIO
COURTESY STANDARD BROADCASTING CORPORATION LTD.

(c) 1973 BY GORDON SINCLAIR
PUBLISHED BY STAR QUALITY MUSIC (SOCAN)
A DIVISION OF UNIDISC MUSIC INC.
578 HYMUS BOULEVARD
POINTE-CLAIRE, QUEBEC,
CANADA, H9R 4T2


 

The story behind the speech

 

On June 5, 1973, Gordon Sinclair sat up in bed in Toronto and turned on his TV set. The United States had just pulled out of the Vietnamese War which had ended in a stalemate - a war fought daily on TV, over the radio and in the press. The aftermath of that war resulted in a world-wide sell-off of American investments, prices tumbled, the United States economy was in trouble. The war had also divided the American people, and at home and abroad it seemed everyone was lambasting the United States.

 

He turned on his radio, twisted the dial and turned it off. He picked up the morning paper. In print, he saw in headlines what he had found on TV and radio - the Americans were taking a verbal beating from nations around the world. Disgusted with what he saw and heard, he was outraged!

 

At 10:30, on his arrival at CFRB to prepare his two pre-noon broadcasts, he strode into his office and "dashed-off" two pages in 20 minutes for LET'S BE PERSONAL at 11:45 am, and then turned to writing his 11:50 newscast that was to follow. At 12:01 pm, the script for LET'S BE PERSONAL was dropped on the desk of his secretary who scanned the pages for a suitable heading and then wrote "Americans"" across the top and filed it away. The phones were already ringing.

 

Gordon Sinclair could not have written a book that could have had a greater impact in the world than his two-page script for THE AMERICANS. A book should have been written on the events that followed. But, no one at CFRB, including Sinclair himself, could have envisioned the reaction of the people of the United States - from presidents - state governors - Congress - the Senate - all media including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines - and from the "ordinary" American on the street. Nor, could have the Canadian government - stunned by the response to what has come to be regarded as one of Canada's greatest public relations feats in the history of our relations with the United States of America.

 

But, how did Sinclair's tribute to Americans reach them? It had been swept across the United States at the speed of a prairie fire by American radio stations - first, a station in Buffalo called and asked to be fed a tape copy of the broadcast with permission to use - both freely given. Nearby American stations obtained copies from Buffalo or called direct. By the time it reached the Washington, DC area, a station had superimposed Sinc's broadcast over an instrumental version of BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER, and was repeating it at fixed times several times-a-day.

 

Congressmen and Senators heard it. It was read several times into the Congressional Record. Assuming that it was on a phono (33 1/3 rpm), Americans started a search for a copy. CFRB was contacted. To satisfy the demand, CFRB started to make arrangements with AVCO, an American record company, to manufacture and distribute it as a "single".

 

As they were finalizing a contract that would see all royalties which would normally be due Gordon Sinclair be paid (at his request) to the American Red Cross. Word was received that an unauthorized record, using Sinclair's script but read by another broadcaster, was already flooding the US market. (Subsequently, on learning that this broadcaster had agreed to turn over his royalties to the Red Cross, no legal action was taken).

 

Sinclair's recording of his own work (to which Avco had added a stirring rendition of THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC) did finally reach record stores, and sold hundreds of thousands of copies, but the potential numbers were depressed by the sale of the infringing record. Other record producers and performers (including Tex Ritter) obtained legal permission to make their own versions. In Ritter's case, because of the first-person style of the script, Tex preceded his performance with a proper credit to Sinclair as the author. The American Red Cross received millions of dollars in royalties, and Gordon Sinclair was present at a special ceremony acknowledging his donation.

 

Advertisers using print media contacted CFRB for permission to publish the text in a non-commercial manner; industrial plants asked for the right to print the script in leaflet form to handout to their employees.

 

Gordon Sinclair received invitations to attend and be honoured at many functions in the United States which, by number and due to family health problems at the time, he had to decline. However, CFRB newscaster Charles Doering, was flown to Washington to give a public reading of THE AMERICANS to the 28th National Convention of the United States Air Force Association, held September 18, 1974 at the Sheraton Park Hotel. His presentation was performed with the on-stage backing of the U.S. Air Force Concert Band, joined by the 100-voice Singing Sergeants in a special arrangement of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

 

8 years after the first broadcast of THE AMERICANS, U.S. President Ronald Reagan made his first official visit to Canada. At the welcoming ceremonies on Parliament Hill, the new President praised "the Canadian journalist who wrote that (tribute)" to the United States when it needed a friend. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had Sinclair flown to Ottawa to be his guest at the reception that evening.

 

Sinc had a long and pleasant conversation with Mr. Reagan. The President told him that he had a copy of the record of THE AMERICANS at his California ranch home when he was governor of the state, and played it from time to time when things looked gloomy.

 

On the evening of May 15th, 1984, following a regular day's broadcasting, Gordon Sinclair suffered a heart attack. He died on May 17th. As the word of his illness spread throughout the United States, calls inquiring about his condition had been received from as far away as Texas. The editorial in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune of May 28th was typical of the reaction of the United States news media - A GOOD FRIEND PASSES ON.

 

U.S. President Ronald Reagan: "I know I speak for all Americans in saying the radio editorial Gordon wrote in 1973 praising the accomplishments of the United States was a wonderful inspiration. It was not only critics abroad who forgot this nation's many great achievements, but even critics here at home. Gordon Sinclair reminded us to take pride in our nation's fundamental values."

 

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau: "Gordon Sinclair's death ends one of the longest and most remarkable careers in Canadian Journalism. His wit, irreverence, bluntness and off-beat views have been part of the media landscape for so long that many Canadians had come to believe he would always be there."

 

Following a private family service, two thousand people from all walks of life filled Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto's City Hall for a public service of remembrance organized by Mayor Art Eggleton. Dignitaries joining him on the platform were Ontario Lieutenant-Governor, John Black Aird; the Premier of Ontario, William Davis; and Metro Chairman Paul Godfrey. Tens of thousands more joined them through CFRB's live broadcast of the service which began symbolically at 11:45 - the regular time of Sinc's daily broadcast of LET'S BE PERSONAL.

 

As Ontario Premier William Davis said of him "The name GORDON SINCLAIR could become the classic definition of a full life."

Source material
(recalled by J. Lyman Potts who was there)


This version was typed out by my sister for a school project.
It almost exactly the same as the original.
She typed out a copy for me in 1973/74. It so affected me, the son of German immigrants, that I saved that torn and yellowed copy for over 20 years. It was one of the first things I ever posted on the Net.

"Americans" by Gordon Sinclair (circa 1973)

 

The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French, and British exchanges this morning hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971 and this Canadian thinks it's time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possible the least appreciated people in all the earth.

As long as 60 years ago when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and Yangtse. Who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did.

They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges, and the Niger. Today the rich bottom land of the Mississippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the Franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up and the reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris.....I was there.....I saw it.

When distant cities are hit by earthquake, it's the United States that hurries in to help. Managua, Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples. So far this spring, fifty-nine American communities have been flattened by tornadoes.......nobody has helped.

The Marshall Plan, the Truman Policy, all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war-mongering Americans.

I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes. Come on let's hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed TriStar, or the Douglass 10? If so, why don't they fly them. Why do all international lines except Russian fly American planes. Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon?

You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you will find men on the moon...not once, but several times, and safely home again. you talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even the draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets most of them, unless they break Canadian laws, and getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend here.

When the Americans get out of this bind (as they will) who could blame them if they said "the hell with the rest of the world....let someone else build or repair foreign dams or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes."

When the railways of France, Germany, and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name you five thousand times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake. Our neighbors have faced it alone and I'm one Canadian who's damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They will some out of this thing with their flag high and when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present trouble.

I hope Canada is not one of them, but there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians and finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48 annual meeting in New Orleans, that it was broke.

This year's disasters have taken it all and nobody, but nobody has helped


This early version found and sent to me by Dan Carriker of Loveland Colorado

America: The Good Neighbor.

 

Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a
remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian
television commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant
remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most
generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out
of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and
forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying
even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who
propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the
streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in
to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes.
Nobody helped.

The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into
discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about
the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those
countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar
build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to
equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas 10? If
so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except
Russia fly American Planes?

Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the
moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk
about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American
technocracy, and you find men on the moon - not once, but several times and
safely home again.

You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store
window for everybody to look at . Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued
and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they
are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at
home to spend here.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through
age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad
and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both
are still broke.

I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other
people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to
the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during
the San Francisco earthquake. Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm
one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They
will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they
are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their
present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."

Stand proud, Americans


Feedback email

Just a sample of emails sent in September 2001.

In the past two days I have been emailed several times 1973 radio transcript posted on your site from Canadian journalist Gordon Sinclair. I would like to offer some feedback.

I presume the timing of this transcript's re-release is meant to inspire national solidarity in light of Tuesday's devastating attack. I, for one, find the article more disturbing than inspiring.

Tuesday's catastrophe was and is horrifyingly tragic. What would be even more tragic, however, would be for us as a country to take the isolationist "it's up to us and us alone" attitude suggested by the article.

Now is decidedly not the time to be angry with or resentful of the rest of the world. It is the time to seek unity, not only with fellow Americans, but with every other nation that would join us in the steadfast fight against all forms of terrorism.

We are at a crossroads of tremendous opportunity to generate an unprecedented level of worldwide solidarity against one of the most heinous, most insidious evils we've ever known. And in spite of what Mr. Sinclair's commentary might indicate, not only can we garner international support, now more than ever, we must--from our current allies as well as potential ones, especially of Arab and Muslim affiliation.

The terrorists are counting on a massive, aggressive response from us to further divide East from West. Such a response would fan the fire in support of their cause, fueling their mission to garner yet more terrorist involvement in a deadly spiral designed to bring Western civilization to its knees.

Let's not give them anything like what they want. Let us, instead, inspire and unite the world to the truth that the despicable criminals who provoked Tuesday's attack embody nothing remotely righteous or holy (as they seem to believe); rather, they embody the outright antithesis of everything that is pure and good and true. And may the real disciples of God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, and humanity band together, not resting until the misguided instruments of terror are utterly stopped.

John Standish
Colorado Springs, CO

9/14/2001

-------------------------------------------

I have received several copies of Gordon Sinclair's comments on
Americans this morning via forwarded emails and also heard it read over
the AM radio stations here in Minneapolis. I believe what shocked me
most is that Mr. Sinclair's editorial was the first I have ever thought
of his points. I am a 27-year-old person who grew up in the States not
thinking anything of helping other countries out in their times of need.
It's just what we do. It never occurred to me that we were owned
anything in return. That generosity is a truly wonderful trait that I
think our country doesn't even think twice about. I came across the
website for your radio station while searching for a way to write a
thank you to Mr. Sinclair for reminding us Americans about our great
spirit.

Mr. Sinclair reminds us how great the American spirit is and that our view in the
world community is not as anti-American as we had the impression of.

As someone in this generation who is looking to my parents and
grandparents for how they handled times of crisis, I hope we can do as
well in this hour of need.

Regards,
Heather
September 2001

--------------------------------------
I just want to say THANK YOU for reprinting this. I am proud to be an
American and I think that it is wonderful that this man and whoever reprinted
this cared enough about the United States to tell us so. Even we Americans
tend to forget everything we have done for others, so this also serves as an
important reminder to us. But most of all, I want to thank you and all other
Canadians for caring about your neighbors. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!
September 2001