My mother's family came from the Scotch-Irish stock that came to Finger Lakes of Upstate New York before the French and Indian War. They looked for land to farm to improve their condition. My father's family came from Germany in the waning years of the 19th century to escape the political turmoil of the rising German Nation under Bismark. During the Great War to make the world safe for democracy, World War I, frankfurters became hot dogs, and hamburgers became Salisbury steak. The boys went overseas and saw the horrors of war, and how could you keep them down on the farm after they'd seen Gay Paree. But anyone at home who didn't agree was rounded up and herded into kangaroo courts. And for a young man named Zimmerman growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia, the jeers against anything German were a certain precursor of what would become the concentration camps for Americans of Japanese descent in the next great war. For that young man who had been born a year after the start of the last century in the house in Baltimore where the flag was sewn that would fly over Ft. McHenry in 1812 where Francis Scott Key composed the Star Spangled Banner, he changed his name from Zimmerman to Carpenter and that's how my family and I came to sing our song in a strange land.
CHORUS OF THE HEBREW SLAVES
"Va, pensiero"also known in English as the "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves", is a chorus from the third act of the opera Nabucco (1842) by Giuseppi Verdi, with a libretto by Temistocle Solera, inspired by Psalm 137. It recollects the story of Jewish Exiles in Babylon after the loss of the First Temple in Jerusalem. The opera with its powerful chorus established Verdi as a major composer in 19th-century Italy. The full incipit is "Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate", meaning "Fly, thought, on golden wings".