America the Beautiful


For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Col. 1:16-17).

In celebration of America’s Independence Day, I am highlighting one of my favorite patriotic songs, America the Beautiful. I first learned this song many years ago at Highland Park (public) grade school in Chattanooga. The words were moving and helped to form my love of America but more so my respect for God’s beautiful creation and goodness to our nation. The song also pays honor to all of those that have fought for our freedom.

Rather than write more about my thoughts on this great song and since this is the Fourth of July weekend, here’s Ray Charles’ patriotic rendition:

The lyrics to this beautiful song were written by Katharine Lee Bates, an instructor at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, after an inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak, Colorado, in 1893. Her poem, America the Beautiful first appeared in print in The Congregationalist, a weekly journal, on July 4, 1895. Ms. Bates revised the lyrics in 1904 and again in 1913. In addition to those changes in the words, it is notable that the poem was not always sung to the tune “Materna,” composed by Samuel A. Ward in 1882, nearly a decade before the poem was written. In fact, for two years after it was written it was sung to just about any popular or folk tune that would fit with the lyrics, with “Auld Lang Syne” being the most notable of those. The words were not published together with “Materna” until 1910 (source: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/america.htm).

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

God has definitely shed His beauty and grace on America.

Happy Fourth!

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