============================================================ Fundamentally Right: America ! America !

Saturday, May 28, 2005

America ! America !

Words can be powerful motivators, whether they be read, spoken or sung. Often, the originator of the words almost casually assembles them not understanding their power. Sometimes, words will just plain grip your heart, forcing you to consider them, making you ponder them.

I’m going to share a little story with you, perhaps we will arrive at some words you will ponder. Not my words, certainly no pondering of my words will be done.

Long years ago there was a professor at Wellesley College, she was the daughter of a pastor from Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Her name was Katharine Lee Bates, Miss Katharine Lee Bates.. During Katherine’s life, she penned several books and poems.

Miss Bates was lecturing in 1883 at the summer session at Colorado College. While there, she and some others took a side trip up Pikes Peak in a prairie wagon and on mule back. The view from the summit caused her to later write; "It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse..." she scribbled into her notebook the words of a poem that you will recognize as “America the Beautiful”.
You can read more about Miss Bates Here.


“America the Beautiful” has eight verses, each verse powerful enough to bring a lump in the throat and a tear to the eye of this old codger. I sure hope it’s not just me, but it causes pride to well up in this heart, pride in our history, pride in our people, pride in our land..

And now for those words I mentioned at the start of posting. The words are found in verse three of “America the Beautiful”

“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!”

There, in line three, “Who more than self their country loved” . Try and wrap yourself around those words, “Who more than self their country loved". Imagine that love. Most of us do a pretty good job of loving ourselves. It’s about, how do I feel? What about my future? Am I being appreciated? What kind of return will I get from this?


“Who more than self their country loved”… “Their country loved,” that’s us, “their country” They loved us more than they loved themselves. Many, many gave up their very lives so we could live ours in freedom. Many fought in cruel, unforgiving, merciless conditions so we might enjoy that hard won liberty today.

Reaching back through the halls of time they were there, ill equipped, battling the Red Coats, loving their country more than self.. Heroes, beginning a long tradition of brave heroes. Loving country more than self, truly something to ponder…

Throughout our history, they have been there, to this very day. Ordinary folks stepping forward to serve their nation, loving their country more than self.

Read that verse again.

“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!”

If you happen to attend a Memorial Day Parade, maybe a solemn ceremony in a cemetery somewhere across this great land, ponder Miss Bates’ words. If you get that lump in your throat or a tear wells up in the corner of your eye, it’s all right. I’ll be somewhere pondering those words too.

Here’s all eight verses of the wondrous song “America the Beautiful”


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!



Thank you Miss Bates…

If you don’t happen to be an American and this didn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry about it. Maybe, you had to be there…


Have a memorable Memorial Day

God Bless America


Brad

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