Ronald Reagan on America the Beautiful

by William Federer
President Ronald Reagan upon a meeting with South Korean President Chun Doo Hwan, November 14, 1983 declared: “At the worship service Sunday morning with our soildiers…less than a mile from one of the most tyrannical regimes on Earth..a choir of little girls..all orphans.. closing the service, sing ‘America, the Beautiful’ in our language, was a spiritual experience.”

America the Beautiful

Words by Katharine Lee Bates, printed in the “Congregationalist” for Independence Day, July 4, 1895

Melody by Samuel Ward

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 pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of 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!


From William Federer’s American Minute for August 12th. William J. Federer is the author of the best-selling books Prayers and Presidents Inspiring Faith from Leaders of the Past, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, and What Every American Needs to Know About the Quran: A History of Islam & the United States.

© 2012. Used by permission.

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