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America The Beautiful

America The Beautiful

"America the Beautiful" is a solemn patriotic song with lyrics written by Katharine Lee Bates. At first, as a poem for The Congregationalist periodical in 1895. Bates was an English Literature professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In 1893, the 33-year old Bates had to journey to Colorado Springs to teach a summer class. The beauty of Pikes Peak inspired her to compose a poem and expressed the beauty of America seen from her eyes. In 1903, a publisher combined Bates' poem with Samuel A. Ward's musical composition, "Materna." Ward was a choirmaster of Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey. The music was inspired while he was in a ferryboat from his visit to Coney Island. "America the Beautiful" continues to hold the high esteem of Americans even after a century. It serves as the unofficial anthem sung to convey national identity.

 

America the Beautiful broadside 

History of America The Beautiful

The poem swiftly caught public interest that inspired composers to write music for the lyrics. It inspired at least seventy-five (75) musical compositions five (5) years after the poem's publication. Silas Pratt composed the first known melody for the song, but Samuel A. Ward's "Materna" was considered the best since the song's publication in 1910 up to the present. Since then, there were popular versions of the song recorded by celebrated singers and artists. In 1961, Bing Crosby added his rendition on the album 101 Gang Songs. Frank Sinatra collaborated with Nelson Riddle and recorded a version for The Concert Sinatra in 1963. Attempts to honor ''America the Beautiful" its legal status as a national anthem were made for the course of one hundred (100) years. Though these were unsuccessful attempts, the song's popularity did not diminish. As a result of the September 11 attacks, the song's popularity surged yet again.

 

Facts of America The Beautiful

The lyric author of "America the Beautiful" Katharine Lee Bates and its music composer Samuel A. Ward have never met in person. Ward died in 1903 before the song's publication in 1910. Bates died in 1929 and has witnessed the evolution of her composition to its glory. The tune of "Auld Lang Syne" fitted the lyrics of Bates' poem that people sung it with the hymn for several years. "America the Beautiful" was a well-qualified candidate to become the country's national anthem and continues to remain in the hearts of Americans though it did not attain legal status.

 

Meaning of America The Beautiful

The four verses of the lyrics express acknowledgment of the beauty of America with subtle religious implications. The aesthetic appeal of Pikes Peak while recognizing God's favor to marvel at the beauty of the landscape was expressed in the first verse. The second verse remembers the early settlers of the author's hometown in Massachusetts. The third verse conveys gratitude to the nation's armed forces for keeping America's freedom. Heeding respect for the future through God's grace is the message of the fourth verse.

 

How the military keeps our Freedoms

According to President Franklin Roosevelt, there are four necessary features of man's freedom. The military ensures these four freedoms by liberating us from fear and danger. With our Freedom of fear at hand, we can then exercise our freedom of want, freedom of worship, and freedom of speech and expression.

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