Wild Air

A Hymn for the Fourth

July 4th, 2014

 

Here is a great hymn for the Fourth of July. 

I offer it as a meditation on the meaning of being an American.  It doesn’t appear in most hymnals today, probably because it is politically incorrect, especially in the last stanza.  God bless our EXCEPTIONAL country! 

Not alone for mighty empire, stretching far over land and sea,
Not alone for bounteous harvests, lift we up our hearts to Thee.
Standing in the living present, memory and hope between,
Lord, we would with deep thanksgiving, praise Thee more for things unseen.

Not for battleship and fortress, not for conquests of the sword,
But for conquests of the spirit give we thanks to Thee, O Lord;
For the priceless gift of freedom, for the home, the church, the school,
For the open door to manhood, in a land the people rule.

For the armies of the faithful, souls that passed and left no name;
For the glory that illumines patriot lives of deathless fame.
For our prophets and apostles, loyal to the living Word,
For all heroes of the spirit, give we thanks to Thee, O Lord.

God of justice, save the people from the clash of race and creed,
From the strife of class and faction, make our nation free indeed;
Keep her faith in simple manhood strong as when her life began,
Till she find her full fruition in the brotherhood of man!

       -William P. Merrill (1911),  Sung to the tune, “Hyfrydol.”

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