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Monday, June 30, 2014

THE HYMN “AMERICA”

     One bleak day in February, 1822, a young theological student sat in his room at Andover Seminary.  Samuel Francis Smith was going over a sheaf of German songs for children, given him by a friend, the composer Lowell Mason.  Sunset shadows crept into the room and Smith was tired from a strenuous day of study.  He was relieved to spend a few relaxed moments going over his friend’s music.  As he hummed over one after another, one struck his fancy.  He glanced at the words at the bottom of the page, and his knowledge of German told him that the words were patriotic, but they did not appeal to him.  He decided to write his own words.  He searched around on his desk until he found a scrap of paper about 5 or 6 inches long and two and one half inches wide.  On this, as he tapped out the rhythm of the music, he began to write:

“My country, ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountain side
Let freedom ring!

-Selected; via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com



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