• August 22, 2023

    America The Beautiful, Heroes Proved

    August 22, 2023
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    Public Display. Verses 1 and 2 of America The Beautiful
    Public Display. Pike's Peak Colorado Tribute to Katherine Lee Bates Writing of America The Beautiful

    I visited the top of Pike's Peak Colorado again yesterday. Pike's Peak is truly America's Mountain. So much has been written about the mountain and the author of our beloved song, America The Beautiful, Katherine Lee Bates. This column is not about debating her politics from 130 years ago. Yes, there were some changes to the original text, but the ultimate words, as depicted in the second picture above, are timeless. I will leave it to the historians to delve deeper into the ebb and flow of the historical perspective.

    Many have tried to interpret the words but the third verse of our national song are so pertinent today.

    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 ev'ry gain devine!

    Third verse of America The Beautiful

    We just celebrated our nation's 247th birthday on July 4th. Was it by accident we are still here today? The third verse words can be interpreted in many ways, but the simple literal words are so relevant back then as they are today. While our forefathers were fighting the American Revolution for our freedom and independence from Great Britain, we find ourselves today looking for our fellow American heroes who share the same legal, peaceful and determined goals to regain that liberty our fellow Americans fought for so many years ago. We are again in pursuit of freedom and a different kind of strife. We each have our own depth of love of our country.

    Do we remain on the sidelines and share our opinions in social media space? Do we really love mercy more than life? Are we each committed to making life better for those who will follow? Is God refining us, so that our success is noble, and our national gain goes to the glory of Him? Reflect on the generations who have gone before us. Shall we forget the strife and hard work they accomplished to build the nation we are blessed to have today?

    In my opinion, the third verse directly tells us to honor our country's heroes. We have an ongoing citizen requirement to peacefully and firmly stand up for freedom and liberty these heroes so valiantly fought to gain. All of our work is part of God's ongoing refinement as we serve each other. Ultimately, our service to each other and our nation glorifies our God who made us.

    Stand strong, speak boldly and pursue the freedoms and justice in a God honoring and glorifying way that reflect the character of His son, Jesus Christ. Amen!

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    Jim Zietlow

    Colonel Jim Zietlow, USAF retired, is a US Air Force Academy graduate, served as a T-38 and T-41 Instructor Pilot and worldwide as a C-5 Instructor Pilot and Flight Examiner. He served as a C-5/C-17 Program Manager at the Pentagon followed by a special assignment to the Secretary of the Air Force, Office of US Congressional Legislative Liaison, Weapon Systems Division during the 9/11/2001 era. Following 9/11, Jim transferred to HQ NORAD USNORTHCOM in their Homeland Defense and Civil Support missions serving as a Program Manager, Military Plans Branch Chief culminating his military career as HQ NORAD USNORTHCOM Command Center Director. The views presented are those of the author and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, or its components.
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