As we celebrate Independence Day I feel the need to reveal something exceptionally personal—my blood type. I bleed Red White and Blue Positive. It’s no secret that I am politically red, racially white and blue positively brings out the color of my eyes. But those things aside, I truly love my country and am honored to be an American. The Stars and Stripes always fly proudly on the flagpole at our home.
On Sunday the congregation of my church sang America the Beautiful. I’ve sung the words to that song a hundred times before and know the words to all four verses by heart. The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, the more in awe I am of the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. I had to choke back the tears and swallow the lump in my throat to get through the first few verses and the remaining lines moved me so much that it was virtually impossible to sing after that.
Never before in my lifetime has there been such a division of values in our country. There is vast disagreement on many levels, the most prominent being attitudes about abortion, healthcare, gun control, border security, government assistance, taxes and regulation… and that’s just for starters. It’s difficult if not impossible to pull someone else over to your side of the isle. Our viewpoints are almost as established as our blood type.
In view of the blame and bitterness of the political climate, maybe the words to this song can be a balm for some of the chaos whirling about us. Perhaps these verses can help us see this land from a higher plain—a fruited plain—as we celebrate Independence Day with pride and gratitude.
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!