America the Beautiful: New Hampshire style

blue skies and flagpole

The patriotic anthem America the Beautiful started life in the last decade of the 1800s, penned by a Wellesley professor who was inspired by her trip across Pikes Peak. Katherine Lee Bate’s original poem was modified in the early 1900s, as several composers, players and conductors paired it with different tunes. 

The tune with the sticking power, the tune that makes our hearts swell and gives us a little tear in our eye when it’s played by a band, was written by Samuel Ward. Bate’s edited poem and Ward’s music were first published together in 1910. Regrettably, Ward passed away in 1903, never knowing that his tune would become synonymous with all things patriotic.

In celebration of the Fourth, I’ve paired Ms. Bate’s poem with summer morning scenery from Meredith, New Hampshire.


O beautiful for spacious skies,

meadow grass
Meadow grass by the side of the road, Meredith Neck

For amber waves of grain,

The foothills of the White Mountains as seen from the Parade Road.

For purple mountains majesties,

baskets of berries
At Moulton’s Farm Stand

Above the fruited plain!

Cemetery, Meredith Neck Road.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

town docks
At Hesky Park on Lake Winnipesaukee, Meredith NH

From sea to shining sea!




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  1. Happy 4th of July and thank you for your visual interpretation of this song. We celebrate the 4th at the family camp by reading the entire Declaration of Independence out loud to remind ourselves of the courage it took to stand up to a tyrant.

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