UB40, Usher, U2, Uncle Kracker… Unchained Melody, U and UR Hand, Umbrella, Urgent… Upbeat, ukulele, unison, upright piano… unknown unique songs.
This was an event of my youth. It was a big undertaking in the music industry in 1985. It happened in Los Angeles the night of the American Music Awards when most of the artists would be in town. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson wrote the single and more than 25 different artists of the time sang it together that January night. It was called USA for Africa and the song was “We are the World.”
It was inspired by the fund-raising efforts of Bob Geldof and Band Aid overseas. They raised money with the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” which still gets air play every winter. “We are the World” did have success on the charts and raised about $60 million.
On Friday April 5th (Good Friday that year) there was a collaboration with many radio stations throughout the United States to play the song at exactly 10:50am EST and I will never forget it. I was in class and the principal made an announcement and played the 6 minute and 22-second-long song via the local radio station. It gave me goosebumps to hear it like that with “the nation” at the same time.
Some of the stars that were a part of USA for Africa were Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Huey Lewis, Hall and Oats, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and many more. This is the longer seven minute full version of the song used for the video (it had to be cut shorter for radio play).
The final day of my journey through the things that mean Christmas to me is of course giving. I love to give! It can be giving presents, giving time, giving of your heart, etc.
I have always tried the best I could to try to find that “perfect” gift to give someone that WOW moment when they open a present. I delight in watching my daughter open her gifts. I don’t think I can ever top the year I got her a new instrument (a piccolo). She was completely unaware and really surprised. No big surprises this year but I do really hope she loves her Crazy Frog Lady shirt.
At this time of year I always wish I had more energy so I could give of my time more. Volunteering to be a bell-ringer for Salvation Army. Or work at a the homeless shelter to feed the hungry. I do it more in small personal doses. Giving time to my Dad to just visit a while. Writing letters to friends and family I cannot visit. Some of those small gift that are “free” can mean a lot too.
Around the holidays people often give to charities as well. Whether it be a toy drive or your favorite charity with an end of the year gift it is giving for those who need help. Just once I would like to win the lottery to be able to do more than a $5 or $10 donation.
No matter what you give do so freely and with pure love in your heart. I have learned if you give with strings attached it can just cause heartache. Giving freely and without conditions is the only way to guarantee it will not hurt you in the end.
I hope you take the time to embrace all that Christmas means to you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!!!!