(New York Post) -- Katharine Lee Bates, a 33-year-old English literature teacher at Wellesley College, was on “a merry expedition up Pike’s Peak” in Colorado in 1893 when she looked out “over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies.”
In an instant, she said, “the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.” Those lines became “America the Beautiful” — a song that will feature today in countless parades and band concerts.
Everyone knows the first verse, with its evocation of “amber waves of grain” and “purple mountain majesties.” But how many have read — let alone sung — the entire song?
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The full hymn is more than just a poetic appreciation of the country’s wonders of nature. It evokes the vitality of an ever-widening America, celebrates its storied past and — most important — evokes its limitless future potential.