The story goes that a Wellesley College English professor named Catherine Bates was overwhelmed by the beauty of her country while hiking in Colorado in 1893.  It is said that it was atop Pikes Peak that this 33-year-old woman was inspired to write the poem that became the song that generations have considered our national hymn.  It seems fitting that we have all been at one time or another moved by the words of a woman who went to great lengths and reached great heights and has lived on in her own words.


America. A Poem for July 4

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 pilgrim feet
Whose stern, 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 or 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

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