Monday, July 4, 2011

America The Beautiful

I found a copy of this poem, "America the Beautiful"  written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893, amongst my mothers personal papers and have kept it close to me since, but I have not pondered its words until now. It is amazing how we can hear something said or sung often and know the words,  yet not fully realize its message, until one day, we read it once again :

The first verse, for me, celebrates America's vastness, variety and abundance, which also gives us opportunity.  The author also acknowledges God for giving this land and also asks to help us come together as a people in His honor on this land.

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

The second verse speaks of the hardships that had to be overcome by the early settlers, whose passion for freedom led them to not give in or give up thereby forging a path for the rest of those seeking freedom to follow.  It also recognizes that we are not perfect but asks God to help us find solutions for our flaws and to help us practice self-control and trust that liberty is found by following the law:

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

The third and final verse, speaks of the future of the land and trusts that there will be men, citizens, patriots who will continue to carry forward the torch of freedom and even through suffering will not let it's light diminish. It asks God to grace her with  people whose ambition will be to keep her in her glory and continue to be the beacon for many years to come. 

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!

This is where we are 235 years after the Declaration of Independence, where we once again must declare our intent and ask for God's grace to help us recognize once more her abundance and beauty and resolve to continue in our impassioned stress to beat a thoroughfare for freedom.

I firmly believe that God was with the founders of this nation and that they all recognized His role and blessings. Just as this poem asks once more for God to guide us on the right path, so must we always recognize God's role in our continued freedom.  

Few people pick up a pamphlet today known as The Declaration of Independence along with the written words of The Constitution of the United States, but please pick it up today and devote the few minutes it takes to read it; but even before you read it, pick it up and hold it between your hands; notice how thin it is, notice how small the pamphlet is, notice how few words it has. Realize that this nation has its laws written there  in those few paragraphs and realize that America was born out of those few words in that small pamphlet... now, start reading.

Happy Birthday America and may God continue to shed his grace on thee! 

Now listen to this beautiful instrumental rendition and read about the founders of our nation and what they risked for freedom. I wonder, can we do the same? 

I disagree with Woodrow Wilson the rest is great!

Thanks for reading,