Katherine Lee Bates sees the beautiful in America
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On this day in 1893 was written the famous song ‘America the Beautiful’ by Katharine Lee Bates, following a trip to the Rocky Mountains.
Bates was an academic who spent most of her life teaching in Massachusetts, where she died aged sixty-nine. America the Beautiful with its stirring tune, has become an unofficial national anthem which anyone who has visited that country can respond to. It stresses the beauty and freedom of that great country but it makes no mention of the millions of African slaves and Native Americans who suffered.
Anthems are like that and it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise. It does not mean that we should never look inside the façade:
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
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!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
(Part – It continues for a further six verses.)
Today I ask that I will look beyond the packaging and not take things at their face value.