America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful  ~ We all know the first verse:

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!

I love this song. Yet it is the 3rd verse that I find so moving:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

If you ever get the chance, I strongly recommend listening to Ray Charles sing this song. I have never heard a patriotic version of any song that moves me as much as his rendition.

(by Tanker– Army Vet)

This letter to the editor showed up in the local newspaper.  The lady who wrote it is an elderly woman who lives on my block. She was my Catholic Sunday School teacher about 25 years ago and is a very active member of our Church.  I have a long history with her through the Church. (I was an altar boy for 10 years, she did the bible readings)  This lady is one of the nicest people you will ever meet…and she is one hell of a patriot!

Quote: I am proud and grateful for the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces throughout the world.  I admire and respect their commitment to preserving our freedoms.
     My father served in World War I, my husband in World War II, my brother during the Korean Conflict, and two sons as Navy corpsmen in more recent times.
     Five and a half months after my brother was discharged, a driver of a truck went through an intersection and struck my brother’s vehicle.  Francis suffered a fractured skull and died that evening.
     If he had a choice of where to give his life, it would have been for a cause he believed in and a country he loved.  He would have preferred being listed as a casualty of war, instead of a highway statistic.
     No, I am not a hawk.  I am an Eagle.

Madeline Mertz

So many are fighting for our freedoms. Our military in foreign countries and their families at home. Madeline Mertz, you are indeed and Eagle!

Prayers are being answered:

I have been so worried about the reactions of the Iraqi people when Saddam’s verdict was announced. Much was my relief when I turned on the news this morning!

(From the AP)Celebrations were heady but mostly peaceful throughout the predominantly Shiite south, where Saddam’s elite Republican Guard massacred thousands during a failed uprising in 1991. A line of cars festooned with plastic flowers wound through the streets of the holy city of Najaf, and crowds burned portraits of Saddam and his family.

Celebratory gunfire also rang out in Kurdish neighborhoods across the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where 40-year-old Khatab Ahmed sat on a mattress in his living room to watch the trial coverage with his wife and six children.

“Thank God I lived to see the day when the criminals received their punishment,” said Ahmed, a taxi driver. (

This in no way means the war is over. However, it does show me the media was wrong in their assumptions. For the Iraqi people are capable of holding trials, of building a new strong country. We are making a difference!

Madeline Mertz, your family made a difference and we will continue to honor your family and all those who have served as well as those who are now in the throes of battle.  

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

(and a funny sent to my from my Favorite Marine)

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