America, My Beautiful: Personalizing the American Dream

 

Let’s be honest, in spite of all the negativity floating around on the political airways, the skyrocketing of unemployment rates, the tragic instances of human nature that mar our daily newspapers, this country, our America, is the grandest nation on Earth. It is the home of impassioned patriots and determined pilgrims. Some of the world’s most beautifully painted natural canvasses are found deep within Smokey Mountain forests, Grand Canyon depths, rocky coasts of Maine, sand castle-studded beaches of Florida, and open spaces of the northwest. It is the birthplace of the “American Dream”, the inception of a once unheard of peace and prosperity, and the true “land of beginning again” for thousands of refugees, past and present. It is my America. It is my home sweet home.

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Having lived overseas, I understand the differences of America and other nations. The strains of liberty float on the breeze if you’re willing to listen. The possibilities of bright, new tomorrows glisten in the eyes of students and those seeking to begin again. The civil liberties, freedom of speech, and ability to “be who you want to be” stand in direct opposition to many nations on the face of this globe. It began as a dream, was built upon an ideal, and stands as a beacon of liberty.

Love your country.  Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him.  ~Giuseppe Mazzini

This July 4th, I am reflecting upon the lyrics of America the Beautiful. This singular reflection is a personal quest to reaffirm those principles upon which our country was founded, to reawaken a desire to go back to the basics of American freedoms. Join me upon my journey to truly honor my nation, the land of heroes, patriots, and pilgrims. For truly, “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” ~Lee Greenwood

 

 

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 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 pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Happy birthday, America.

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