America! America! God shed His grace on thee. And so we celebrate Independence Day – July 4.

Meanwhile, we’re in an unprecedented national crisis on the day we commemorate the colonies’ independence from England and the historic Declaration of Independence, 1776.

I ended my July 3 Speak Your Piece show on WBCB with a strong, patriotic song: America the Beautiful, performed by the great Ray Charles.

There are many meaningful, inspiring stanzas in America the Beautiful,  but I’ve picked a few that tell the story of “us” and the principles of  freedom and faith on which this country was founded.

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 of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!

God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!