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Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Country, Tis of Thee

American Minute from William J. Federer

"My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From every mountainside, Let freedom ring!"

This hymn was written by Samuel Francis Smith, who died NOVEMBER 16, 1895.

A Harvard classmate of poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, Smith went to Andover Theological Seminary and became a Baptist minister. While a student in 1832, Samuel Francis Smith admired a tune while translating a German Hymnal - the same tune was used for British, Canadian, Russian, Danish, Swedish and Swiss National anthems.

Smith stated: "I instantly felt the impulse to write a patriotic hymn of my own, adapted to the tune. Picking up a scrap of waste paper which lay near me, I wrote at once."

In proclaiming "Let Freedom Ring Day," July 3, 1986, President Ronald Reagan recalled the hymn's 4th stanza, stating: "As the golden glow of the Statue of Liberty's rekindled torch calls forth...throughout our land, let every American take it as a summons to rededication, recalling those words we sang as children: 'Our father's God, to Thee, Author of Liberty, To Thee we sing, Long may our land be bright With Freedom's Holy Light. Protect us by Thy might, Great God, Our King.'"

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


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