In 1893 –almost 125 years ago—a Massachusetts college English professor who was teaching summer school in Colorado wrote the words to “America The Beautiful” initially to express her awe of the Rocky Mountains, the spacious open skies, and the fields of grain in America’s west; all unseen in the populated eastern part of the country. Kathryn Lee Bates, then in her mid-thirties, continued in verse two by extolling the great western migration that made this country great.
Given the recent news from Las Vegas and all the natural disasters, I have thought often of the third verse of “America the Beautiful”. This verse starts
“Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life!”
Kathryn Lee Bates may have been thinking primarily of our country’s Soldiers and Sailors, but I believe the local policemen and firemen, the various first responders, the emergency room staff, and the unknown private citizens that have responded without regard for their personal safety to either the Las Vegas incident or the many recent natural disasters are our heroes too.
And verse four, the final verse, reflects on the patriots’ dreams that visualize a wonderful future for our country.
Reflect on those key words from the third verse “who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life.” and thank God for our great American heroes. Thank a local policeman, fireman, first responder, emergency room medic, or any of so many more that put their lives aside to assist and protect their fellow citizens.
Remember the words from the Book of Proverbs: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)