Today’s American Minute

By Bill Federer

“O Beautiful, For Spacious Skies, For Amber Waves of Grain …” Did you know this song, “America the Beautiful,” was so popular in the 1920s that it almost became our National Anthem? It was written by Katherine Lee Bates, who was born this day, Aug. 12, 1859. An American poet and educator, she was the daughter of a Congregational minister, taught high school and then became professor of English literature at Wellesley College. In 1892, she journeyed to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado and was so inspired by the view she penned the verse: “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.”