America, the Beautiful: Happy Independence Day!

America, the Beautiful literatelives.wordpress.com

When I was in kindergarten (I will not even hint at how long ago that was) my classmates and I learned many patriotic songs and rotated through the list of them to sing one each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. Since tomorrow is the Fourth of July, I thought I’d share the lyrics to one of my favorites:

America, the Beautiful
by
Katharine Lee Bates

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 impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry 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 ev’ry 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!

I love the imagery Bates used, not just in the well-known first stanza (which is lovely) but in the lesser known stanzas as well:

  • “O beautiful for pilgrim feet…A thoroughfare for freedom beat…”
  • or “Thine alabaster cities gleam…”

I love the values it promotes for us as citizens:

  • “God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control…”
  • “May God thy gold refine…”
  • “…crown thy good with brotherhood…”

Finally, I love its humility; all the good Bates anticipates flowing from our United States, she credits not to human ability, but to the grace and influence of an almighty God.

I’ll sign off with the title of another patriotic song–“God Bless America,” and wish you a wonderful Independence Day celebration.

What are your favorite patriotic songs? What are the lyrics you like best? Please share in the comment box below.

America, the Beautiful literatelives.wordpress.com

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