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Patriotic Hymns of Faith 1: “America the Beautiful”

Patriotic Hymns of Faith Day 1 – “America the Beautiful” by Katherine Lee Bates

Written by teacher Katherine Lee Bates in 1893, this collection of beautiful words was originally a poem. The inspiration for the poetic piece was the Rocky Mountains, specifically Pike’s Peak in Colorado. While standing on the peak, looking out and seeing such beauty and majesty, Katherine was inspired to write this well-known American classic. 

This piece first appeared in a weekly publication called The Congregationalist on July 4, 1895. Shortly after its debut, musical accompaniment was added by Silas G. Pratt, transforming it from a poem to a patriotic hymn. This song is often referred to as our unofficial national anthem.

I love how the songs our country once embraced gave God a place of honor. These men and women rightly attributed the beauty of our country to an intimate Creator, the One who made you and me. Just as God put artistic thought and incredible detail into the beautiful design of the country in which we live—and uniquely in each country worldwide—He was no less creative in creating you. How precious to know and embrace this truth!

“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 for 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!

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