The Beautiful American

This from Ricky Riccardi’s excellent blog.

Even with his frustrations over the treatment of his people, Armstrong remained a proud American and one of the country’s greatest cultural ambassadors. In 1959, Armstrong was asked about his title of “Ambassador of Goodwill,” Armstrong told a German reporter, “I’m an American first of all. And I don’t know let my country down. And that’s the way it should be.”

That’s why it seemed so right to celebrate Armstrong’s birth on July 4 every year. He was told as a child that he was born on July 4, 1900 and he stuck with that until his dying day on July 6, 1971. When researcher Tad Jones discovered a baptismal certificate 15 years after Armstrong’s passing that stated Armstrong was actually born on August 4, 1971, many longtime Armstrong fans felt a sense of disappointment. Armstrong should have been born on July 4. Who was more American than Louis Armstrong? Even when Duke Ellington dedicated a composition to Armstrong in 1961, he simply named it, “The Beautiful American.”