America is blessed with splendid patriotic songs, yet America the Beautiful is in a league of its very own (along with Hatikvah, that course).

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ns am a sucker for moving national anthems. Ns love the French Marseilliaise, delight in Il Canto degli Italia, love walking come China’s March that the Volunteers, recognize all the words of Advance Australia Fair, am awed by the Japanese Kimigayo and also can conjure Pele to dance the samba at any time Hino Nacional Brasileirois performed. Like many mortals, I additionally yearn unexpectedly for a monarchy whenever i hear God save the Queen.


ns have constantly been smitten v the spectacular Russian national anthem, the lyrics of i m sorry have readjusted with the ebb and flow the Moscow energy ever due to the fact that it was an initial introduced by Stalin in 1944. Its predecessor, The Internationale, tho strikes a strong nostalgic chord in many Israelis of my generation, due to the fact that for many years it to be the unofficial second anthem the Israel’s establishing socialist job parties – and also its affiliated youth movements. David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Shimon Peres, the course, all stood proud to fist for numerous years if calling on the “enslaved masses” to stand up and “erase the past”.


but nothing compares v America’s unbelievably abundant bounty the beautiful patriotic songs. From the air Force’s uplifting Wild Blue Yonder to the Marines’ resolute Halls that Montezuma, the motivation of The fight Hymn that the Republic’s  “Glory, Glory Hallelujah”, the sweet “sweet soil of liberty” in My country ‘Tis of Thee - which in which method evokes that own distinctive American identity regardless of being collection to the song of God save the King, together he then was - “our” Jewish contribution, naturally, in Irving Berlin’s masterful God Bless America and, the course, the triumphantly defiant “land of the cost-free and home of the brave” that the Star Spangled Banner, which never falls short to evoke a choke at baseball games and such, also though, together an Israeli, i don’t mouth the words however only whisper them inside wherein no one is watching.


The jewel in the crown, as much as ns am concerned, is the just anthem that have the right to truly compete with Hatikvah, my one and only, is America the Beautiful. The rousing words written in 1893 through Katharine Lee Bates ~ her climb to Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs – where immense forest fires, hopefully no symbolically, have actually been burn away thousands of acres of forest in current days - and also their miraculous coupling after numerous years v the music originally written by new York church musician Samuel Ward because that the Christian chant “Oh mommy Dear, Jerusalem” (!) are favor a perfect marital relationship that can only be made in heaven. Of all the stirring American anthems, that is simplest for me come understand exactly how America the Beautiful could cause American soldiers on the killing areas in Verdun to break out in spontaneous song and tears in ~ 11:11 A.M. On Armistice work on November 11, 1918, or accompany troops together they an initial saw the coastline of Normandy top top June 6, 1944 or, much more recently, give aid and succor come a stunned and grieving America ~ the atrocities that September 11.


I only recently discovered out about the epic fight of the late 1920s and early 1930s, in between America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner, end the privilege of being designated the official American national anthem - a duel that was cleared up by Congress and President Herbert Hoover in 1931, in favor of the latter.


I have no doubt that ns would have sided v those that championed the sweeping portrayal the America’s unequaled physical beauty and also moral aspirations end Francis Scott Key’s quite militaristic description of the bombardment of ft McHenryby the British imperial Navythe war of 1812, specifically as it was set to one old tune initially composed in one uppercrust men’s drinking society in London.

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yet as i love the Star Spangled Banner, I would certainly never have actually gone as much as Albert Payson Terhune who is quoted in a beautiful book around America the Beautiful written by Lynn Sherr as having written come Bates in ~ the elevation of the anthem face-off: “It is America, no a small naval activity in a half-forgotten war fitted come the semi-unsingable air of a ponderous old English booze song.”


yet America the Beautiful, ns believe, only benefitted native its loss and also from the flexibility from the limit of protocol and decorum, It therefore remains a real “people’s anthem” that comes from the heart and also is sung by totally free will, no by practice or convention. It is, because that me, a splendid ode to an American ideal of beauty and virtue, from respectable “purple mountain majesties” to the often ignored plea come “confirm thy spirit in self-control” and the longing because that heroes “who much more than self their country loved.” and also - coming full circle, in what seems eerily close to the sentiments if not the specific words of L’Internazionale and so much away native today’s prevailing winds: “Till selfish gain no much longer stain The banner that the free!"


So, on America’s 236th, here’s my prayer come crowning thy good with brotherhood native sea to shining sea, simply as ns still have actually hopes, for everything reason, that someday we can indeed be a complimentary people in our land the Zion and Jerusalem, though the direction, in both cases, is far from encouraging.


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A fan waves one American flag during the Memorial day baseball game between the san Francisco Giants and also the Arizona Diamondbacks. Credit: AP
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