Sweet land of liberty. America. What President Ronald Reagan called “a shining city on a hill.” Bathed in the glory of freedom, our nation calls to the weary and oppressed. They breathe a whisper of hope, their eyes seeking a distant horizon “if I can just make it to America!” The streets are open to all, the shops serve everyone, the churches beckon every Sunday, the goodwill of strangers is evident in the face of disaster and trouble. Land of opportunity. A place to call home.
Sweet land of liberty. America. They dream of its shores while they sleep in rumpled uniform, their minds tired, their bodies exhausted. Defending our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, they are our armed forces. Our heroes. From Concord’s Old North Bridge to the Iraqi Desert, America’s finest have put themselves in the line of fire for freedom. They are wounded, maimed and killed. Their graves are sacred. And we embrace the liberty they so dearly bought.
Sweet land of liberty. America. Your children wave sparklers; your patriots salute flags; your masses enjoy picnics and parades. This is a grand birthday celebration. You are not so old, America. Just a toddler against the vintage of the world’s great empires. Yet your reign is unlike any other. You are an experiment in democracy. You are freedom’s poster child. You are the great ambassador of liberty. You are the embodiment of “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We pray for your sins. “May God shed His grace on Thee.”
We thank God for you. “May God crown your good with brotherhood.”
We pledge our devotion to you. We love you. “from sea to shining sea.”
-- V. Quesenberry
(photo -- my grandfather James Bender, Sr. 1913)