Friday, July 4, 2008

Let us not forget...

I love our national anthem, "The Star-spangled Banner," and wish that we sang all the verses more often because they are truly powerful...
...however, it is this hymn ("America the Beautiful") that almost never fails to move me to tears.
In the midst of all the fun- all the barbecuing, the games, the fireworks-
let us remember why we celebrate.
Let us remember those who have fallen because they stood up for what they believed.
Let us remember those who have fought so that others could live in peace.
Let us remember those who have died because they loved their fellow men and believed in the greater good.
Let us remember the One who has made the freedom we enjoy today possible for all mankind.

And let us not forget that we, too, can carry on the fight for freedom, for truth and righteousness...

"...As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free..."
(Julia Ward Howe)




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!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

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
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

-Katherine Lee Bates

4 comments:

Steven said...

Very nicely done. Thank you for that.

Kirsti said...

That was a great 4th of July blog post. Now I have to beat that on my blog(If I can...)!

Jeanne, the mom and grandmom said...

I never knew the additional verses. thanks.

Julina said...

And let us not forget those who *lived*...

Maybe it's all the "pioneer" books I've been reading, maybe it's the coming of Pioneer Day this month, but the lines

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!

really struck me yesterday. It's not only the men who gave their lives, but women and children that gave them something to come home to. Some of the "benefits" of civilization might be debatable, but there's no question that without the efforts of the trailblazers and builders and settlers (in addition to those who've sacrificed to defend us), there wouldn't *be* a Charlestown, Rhode Island or Indianapolis & Crawfordsville Indiana, or Saint Louis or Columbia Missouri for us to live in and enjoy.

Just an extra thought from the Julina soapbox. I'll get down now.