July 4th, 1894

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    4658217820 986ecb62c8 BWritten In 1893, and published, July 4th, 1894. At the age of 33, Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College, had taken a train trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Several of the sights on her trip inspired her, and they found their way into her poem, including the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the “White City” with its promise of the future contained within its gleaming white buildings;  the wheat fields of America’s heartland Kansas, through which her train was riding on July 16; and the majestic view of the Great Plains from high atop Pikes Peak.On the pinnacle of that mountain, the words of the poem started to come to her, and she wrote them down upon returning to her hotel room at the original Antlers Hotel.

    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 for freedom beat
    Across the wilderness.
    America! America!
    God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law.

    O beautiful for glorious tale
    Of liberating strife,
    When valiantly for man’s avail
    Men lavish precious life.
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine
    Till all success be nobleness,
    And ev’ry 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.