God Shed His Grace

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!

Yesterday in church, our recessional song was America the Beautiful. I, of course, cried, as I do every time I hear that song sung, especially in church for some reason. I wish I didn’t cry, because it prevents me from belting out the song as I would if tears weren’t rolling down my cheek. It is sung every Sunday closest to the Fourth of July at most churches.

Yesterday, when I should have been listening to the homily — but wasn’t because our priest is from India and reads his homily thereby resulting in my mind wandering and Bill’s eyes closing — I was instead thinking about freedom.

I can only speak for myself, though I suspect I speak for many Americans, but I take freedom for granted. I get up every morning and look at the news on my iPad. If I didn’t like what they said, I could post my disagreement on social media, or write an opinion letter. If I want, I could go to church. In fact, if I wanted, I could go to a synagogue or a mosque. All of my grandkids – boys and girls – will have the opportunity to go to school, and it’s free. I can go to a library and check out all sorts of books, even books that are anti-government, and they’re free.

For heaven’s sake, a Hollywood entertainer posted a picture of herself holding a facsimile of our president’s decapitated head on social media. There was an appropriate amount of pushback, but as far as I know, she wasn’t imprisoned or put to death herself. Imagine if something like that happened in many of the countries around the world even today. Imagine if a Chinese man or woman posted a picture on Facebook of himself/herself holding the head of Chairman Mao. Oh, that’s right. China doesn’t allow Facebook.

And not only do I take freedom for granted, I also take for granted all of the people who fought in wars, and who continue to fight in wars, so that all of those freedoms we take for granted remain part of our lives in the United States of America. Brave men fought for our freedom from the British in the Revolutionary War, creating the United States, and cementing its Bill of Rights. Young people fought and even gave their lives during two world wars to keep America — and our friends in Europe – free. Wars continue, sad to say. But brave men and women are responsible for the lives we live without giving freedom a second thought.

I hope tomorrow, amidst the hamburgers and hot dogs, the red, white, and blue desserts, and the fireworks, I take a bit of time to thank God for making me an American, and for all of the blessings he has given our great country.

Here are the rest of the words to my favorite American hymn….

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!

This post linked to the GRAND Social

3 thoughts on “God Shed His Grace

  1. We sang Battle Hymn of the Republic at mass and that made me tear up too. P.S. You are not having hamburgers or hotdogs at my house tomorrow. 😬

  2. Tears are appropriate when your country and your church and your freedom meen so much to you. I cry, too, at flags, I wave at the Offutt Surveillance jets which fly over (we are in their practice vector,I learned from a Captain), I cry at #proud reports on the news and I sing as if my last breath depended on it (because it does) every patriotic song. I am proud to know others for whom what we have means everything. Keith flies around the world and has seen great cities and made friends from strangers. Yet, he is relieved and grateful when, as he says, “the jet’s wheels touch the ground in the United States of America”. This was a stirring post, Kris, and I cried. My favorite lines: Oh beautiful for Patriot Dream, that sees beyond the years… and …Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law. Thank you for your marvelous writing!

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