America the Beautiful
lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates
music by Samuel A. Ward 
when words and music combined, published 1910
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!
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”   John 15:12-13
My thankfulness is focused upon men and women who have fought for my freedom, who have died in battle for this precious freedom, freedom to worship and honor God, to learn and be educated, to dwell in this land which I love, to have privileges that very few others in other lands have.  
To each one, I swell with pride.
Thank you –
… to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the Name of Jesus the Christ for my freedom to worship
… to the men and women who have sacrificed their very lives in the name of freedom for the United States of America
… to the men and women in uniform today fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq; stationed in other areas around the world
… to the families here at home while their loved ones are in the midst of war zones, stationed far away
… for the American flag and the country for which it stands
… for our Pledge of Allegiance with four precious words … “One nation under God”   (May we continue to honor You, God, in this country, remembering Who brought us here and Who reigns over our lives and our hearts.  Please LORD, forgive us for our trespasses, our misalliances, our ingratitude.)
… for this beautiful song with such powerful words, if we would only read and sing the other verses, understanding just what they say
… to my Daddy who served in WWII as a doctor/surgeon on the Pacific front; worked as part of the Manhattan Project, eventually to go to Bikini Island for Operation Crossroads (1946) and Eniwetok Island for Operation Greenhouse (1951) as a “Radiological Safety Officer”; served in the US Navy for 20 years as a doctor of medicine until his early death from Pancreatic cancer due to radiation exposure.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  He and others just did not know! But my father was so proud to serve this country and I am proud of him. 
…  to my Daddy whom I was blessed to have as my earthly father for almost 13 years of my life; his love and character truly were showered upon me.  My mother has said over the years that I am a lot like him. That makes me happy.  I miss you, Daddy.
…  to Mom, for her love to her children, raising us alone after Daddy died (we were 12, 10, 7)
… to my husband, Kenneth, who served in the VietNam War in the 101st Airborne; grateful he is here today;  and I am proud of him too.
… to Kenneth, for your love and kindness

LORD, each one has laid their life down for me in one way or another, whether in battle, in research, in raising children, in caring for family while the other was/is away at war.  I thank You for each one.  I wish we did not have to have war.  So many lives are affected.  One day, my LORD, there will be no more war.  I look forward to the day when the lion and the lamb will lie together in peace.  Hallelujah!  LORD, I praise You for all that You have done through these special people, through Your works, through the mighty hand that drew this world.  Forgive us for our arrogance and spiteful ways, for the unloving spirit we hold against others, for hatred and violence.  Oh, forgive us, Father.  Guide us and direct us in all we are and do.  May we be obedient to You, our Father.  Amen.  

photos: from Arlington National Cemetery website –

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