America the Beautiful

Hi Friends! We are just around the corner from our country’s birthday! So this girl is getting ready to celebrate and feeling all the patriotic vibes!

I don’t know about you, but I have a lifetime of awesome memories of the 4th of July! We would have barbecues and watermelon and toast marshmallows over the fire. And then the fireworks would begin! We could see them from our yard (they shot them off at the high school). And it was like the most magical wonderful show! To hear the big boom and see the sky light up with bright shining color! All for our country’s birthday! Like one big birthday for something we all loved dearly! What happy memories! My sister Susan was born on the 4th of July so that made it even more special!

Something happens this time of year. It stirs something in our hearts and draws us together as a nation. It is a love and a gratefulness for our country, and that we were given this window in time to be here, with each other. I am always amazed at how we can be drawn into a moment at any given time with people, maybe people we have never met before. And yet we are a brotherhood.

One of our favorite places to vacation is in Colorado. My husband and I both love the mountains, and they are absolutely spectacular! The first time we drove to Colorado Springs, I looked up at the mountains and I could not hold the tears back for the beauty! It’s been the same every time we’ve gone!

This was maybe 10 years ago, taken at Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs. It peaks at an elevation of over 14,000 feet, and you can take a beautiful 19 mile winding drive to view it from the top! And it is cold when you get up there! Nicknamed “America’s Mountain”, this is the spot for the inspiration that led Katharine Lee Bates, a college professor, writer, poet and scholar, to write the words of “America the Beautiful” back in 1893. It would later be paired with music written by composer Samuel Augustus Ward who wrote the music at a completely different place and time, aboard a ferryboat headed back to his home in New York City. He died a year before the music was put to the words. Providence put their talents to work together though they never met.

Oh 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!

She felt it too. A deep love for what we have here!

For the land, but even more for the people, people that have worked hard and sacrificed much for the American dream.

By John Trumbull – US Capitol, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=180069

Going back to the signers of the Declaration of Independence penned by Thomas Jefferson and edited by Ben Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston, and then congress in Philadelphia in 1776, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Each man knew his signature on that document was punishable by death. They had much to lose, but the dream of liberty was deemed worthy in their hearts of their personal loss. The document ends. “We mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor.” And as we all know, John Hancock made his signature so large and bold, as he later commented so John Bull would be able to read it without  spectacles. Ben Franklin cautioned that they must hang together or they would most assuredly hang separately. George Washington would then lead the Continental Army in what might have seemed a hopeless case to an ultimate victory. And then become our first President of the United States.

Brave men and women have sacrificed for our freedom to this day.

From Patrick Henry declaring “Give me liberty or give me death”, Paul Revere’s famous ride, and Molly Pitcher bringing water to the troops and taking over the cannon herself when the men fell in front of her. Nathan Hale who’s famous last words were, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” And a million other known and unknown acts of courage and sacrifice.

From Baltimore Harbor in the ensuing years from the War of 1812 where Francis Scott Key sat with prisoners in a ship, he witnessed the onslaught of the cannons all night long on Fort McHenry. In his own words, “It seemed as though mother earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fire and brimstone.” It seemed utterly hopeless to survive. Yet as the bombs continued one after the other, they lit the sky up enough to see that beautiful flag still waving! Not a flag of surrender, but the beautiful stars and stripes. That massive flag was some 30 feet by 42 feet. Commissioned by the Fort Commander Major Armistead and sewn by Mrs. Mary Young Pickersgill, intentionally huge so that the enemy would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance. At that time, it had 15 stars. Can you imagine seeing it as the early morning rays of sun began to shine? And later Francis Scott Key penned,

O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight

O’er the ramparts we watched were still gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Our history is replete with selfless, caring, courageous people stepping out of their comfort zone for a greater cause or need.

It lives on today all over our great land. From the kind soul who steps in to someone else’s problems to help out, to people who give their very lives to it. I witness it every single day. I’m sure you do too. What a gift it is to live here!

Amber waves of grain… isn’t it beautiful?

From the farmlands

To the beautiful country roads

This is our America, we are truly blessed!

And this week we celebrate her birthday,

From sea to shining sea

And the crowning touch to all that is beautiful and wonderful and amazing in this magnificent country is so beautifully penned in her song…

“And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”

The fitting crown for this great land is brotherhood! And that we have in rich abundance!

Happy birthday, America! I love you!

Have a wonderful weekend and a Happy 4th of July!

Love Always,

Amy

My country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From every mountainside Let freedom ring!   

~Samuel Francis Smith (first performed on July 4, 1831)

 

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18 comments

  1. This is very nice Amy. I loved every word. I especially like that last song. My personal fave. And you look smashing in that red jacket!

  2. Such beautiful pictures to go with the lyrics! Thanks for the background on Pike’s Peak and Katharine L. Bates. It’s been years since our last visit to Colorado. Hope to get back there some day. Good job!

  3. What a wonderful post. As a non American, I really appreciate how you put it together.. the lyrics and the beautiful photos….and the history too. Thank you Amy. xx

  4. Such a beautiful, informative, insightful post, Amy! I especially enjoyed all the images! Beautifully written, as always! Happy 4th of July! XO

    1. Hi Barbie! Thank you so much! It just warms my heart so to retell these treasures because it helps me appreciate what great sacrifice was made for my liberty 🙂 Thank you for the kind words! Have a great 4th of July!

  5. Pikes Peak I’ve never been. Wonderful sentiment Amy, we are blessed! I enjoyed your post and hope you had a wonderful holiday!

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