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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

America the Beautiful

By Samuel A. Ward & Katharine Lee Bates

An extremely popular song of American patriotism--so much so that it has often been suggested as a replacement for the more cumbersome "Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem of the U.S.A. It began life as a poem called "Pike's Peak", written by Bates and published on July 4, 1895 in the periodical The Congregationalist (it was published under the title "America"). The poem became quite popular, and in 1910 was combined with a melody written by church organist Ward--written in 1882 and published in 1892 as "Materna", part of the hymn "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem". It was introduced on record in 1910 by Louise Homer, and by far the most popular and inspirational version of modern times would have to be the amazing rendition of Ray Charles.

With words specifically written to commemorate the Fourth of July, this is the perfect tune for enjoying this blessed holiday. Happy Independence Day from Standard of the Day!

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 prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov'd,
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.
Recorded By:

Ray Charles
Elvis Presley
Whitney Houston
Barbra Streisand
Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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