Read all the verses.

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:

We Americans are not a dumb people but increasingly we are indeed an under-educated and under-informed people.  In 1976, before the iron curtain was taken down, I travelled quietly in Hungary and then Czechoslovakia and East Germany where my friends told me that they were living a more free life in Communism than I was in the USA. The reason: “We know that everything we read in the papers is propaganda so we are more fully informed than you are who think that what you read is accurate news. You are less free because you are manipulated by your media without your knowledge. We know we are being lied it.”  It was a profound lesson in political reality.  Ask our Europeans friends today and they will tell you that they are astonished at how censured our US news is and how we tolerate such meager and dilute pabulum.

The subject of history in particular and gathering a productive consensus about “what happened” has itself been a great challenge. Teaching our high-school and college students an accurate account of an event or a series of historical events is as challenging as having the six blind men describe the elephant they are touching.  History is not “Herstory” and in all probability, 99.976% of all female accomplishments and greatness were not recorded, over the past 4000 years, by the male scribes.  Winston Churchill admits that “History is written by the victors.” and so it is a challenge to feed our kids anything which is not patently a biased political economic version the panorama of events. (The most heroic effort along these lines was accomplished by extraordinary teachers such as Howard Zinn who described “history as a weapon” and Ivan Illich  and as regards medicine and health care  Dr. Thomas Szaz .

“Follow the money” is the best strategy for sleuthing our what really happened in most cases.  But what can also be helpful is to exercise our trinity of human capacities as regards attainment of knowledge: curiosity, appreciation and perseverance – the inspired versions of our ability to think, to feel and to strive.

So, for starters, in order to more deeply appreciate these past 238 years since our City on a Hill was founded, lets indulge our curiosity, deepen our appreciation and exercise our strength of purpose and take 3 minutes to read the lyrics to the  ENTIRE ballad of which you only have heard the first verse.  And, in the words of brother Stuart  “as the spirit moves you”, read  the remarkable history of this beloved song:

America, The Beautiful Lyrics
by Katharine Lee Bates – 1913

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!

And may God bless us, all not just America.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *