Monday, November 12, 2012
America, Still Beautiful
On the way to church yesterday, I noticed our veterans from the American Legion hall had installed the flags up and down our two main streets. It took a while to sink in, because I was stubbornly clinging to the thought that Veteran's Day was Monday. I made a quick change in the music, substituting "America The Beautiful" for the final hymn I had chosen earlier.
As I struggled to sing those beautiful words without choking up, I contemplated their meaning to me:
O beautiful for spacious skies,
Thank you, Father, for unbelievably blue skies that seem to stretch on forever here in Northern Arizona.
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
There are so many...but through the power of prayer and diligent work to amend those flaws, I still believe in U.S.
O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
The tears are nearly out, my throat threatens to choke up. I pause and take a deep breath, thankful for the congregation singing. Thank you to my birth father who served in Japan and in the Korean war. Thank you to my dad, who served in peace time. Thank you to grandpa who served in WWII and to Uncle David, who died on the Bataan Death March. Thank you to my future son-in-law, who served two tours in Iraq. Thank you to my bestie, who served several tours in Viet Nam. Thank you to all the veterans who made it possible for us to continue to fight at home, to keep our religious liberty, and our many other rights which are currently endangered.
So rarely do we ever get through the third verse, but do we ever manage to get to the fourth?
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.