Happy Birthday, America! (2011)

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

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I love the Fourth of July.  I love the fireworks, I love spending time with friends and family, but most of all, I love the songs and the words that celebrate this great nation and her people.  In honor of America’s birthday, I thought I would share some of my personal favorites – arrangements that stir my soul.

I’m starting out with “America”, also known as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.  I found an absolutely gorgeous arrangement of this song, sung by the Robert Shaw Chorale.  It starts out slowly, but it builds to a beautiful conclusion:

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Another one of my favorite patriotic songs is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.  There are so many wonderful arrangements of this stirring song, but this one as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is perhaps the most well-known choral arrangement:

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As a know-it-all teenager, I never did understand all the fuss about Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America”, but I’ve grown to appreciate her version of this song as the years have passed.  I happened across this clip from the 1943 movie “This is the Army”, and couldn’t pass it up – in part because of a very brief “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” glimpse of a  fresh-faced young actor who was destined for a bright future in politics (at 4:20):

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I don’t just love the old “standards” that I grew up with –  many wonderful songs continue to be written. One of my “new” favorites is Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” – it’s another song that brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it:

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And I have always loved Ray Charles’ soulful rendition of “America the Beautiful” – the stirring words never fail to remind me to be thankful for the blessings of liberty:

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I’m a sentimental softie – my eyes still well up when I see the Stars and Stripes being raised or when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is being played.  But I can honestly say that no matter where or when I hear our national anthem being played, one performance of it will always stand out for me:

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As a kid, I never cared much for history. As I grew older, I started to appreciate just what the sacrifices made by those generations of remarkable people actually meant, the things that they and their families did in the name of this country, and their remarkable  legacy of freedom.

I love this country and all that she stands for. I have always been, and always will be, proud to call myself an American. I have never forgotten how incredibly fortunate I am that my ancestors came to this country, seeking a better life for their children and their children’s children. And I will never let myself forget that it is up to me to ensure that my children and all the generations that follow are able to enjoy the same liberties that were bestowed upon me:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,  that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

With those powerful words, a great nation was born….

Happy birthday, America.

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(Cross-posted at H2:The Hostages and Uncivil Peasants)

About Teresa in Fort Worth, TX

A short, fat, middle-aged, happily-married, mother of 4 daughters. A former high school valedictorian (way back in the Stone Age), a Civil Engineering major in college, a middle-of-the-road Conservative, and a moderate Methodist. I know just enough to get myself in trouble....
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12 Responses to Happy Birthday, America! (2011)

  1. Lovely post, Teresa. Yours was uplifting, whereas mine is rather somber, but both rejoice in our country’s founding 😀

    Like

  2. Dick says:

    This poat needs boobs, but I can’t fix it here. Though I do know where I can fix it.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Happy Birthday, America! « Uncivil Peasants

  4. Jay in Ames says:

    Nice poat, Teresa. Who wrote it?

    *snicker

    Like

  5. Polliwog says:

    Thanks for the songs Teresa, and the link to them at the HQ.

    Like

  6. Jay in Ames says:

    Seriously, I appreciate the time you took on it, and your musical selections are top notch.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Happy Birthday, America! | RedState

  8. Pingback: Happy Birthday, America! (2012) | Koch's Tour

  9. Pingback: Happy Birthday, America! (2013) | Koch's Tour

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