I Love America
By Norma Vera
Like most of you, I love America. My youngest memories of loving my country were developed when I was in elementary school in the early Fifties. Every other week, all the third, fourth and fifth grade classes met at the auditorium for music. It was one of my favorite things to do. We all sat quietly with our classmates and teachers. Every class had their reserved isle. The teacher always sat on the first seat and their class next to them. I remember a lot of order and respect at school and at home. After we were seated we were handed a song book. We waited quietly until a teacher sat at the piano and another one took the microphone, and lead us in song. We would stand to our feet and proudly sing various patriotic and old folk songs that have been sung for many generations.
I have clear memories of sitting on our homemade swing in the evenings and singing at the top of my lungs, all the stanzas from “America the Beautiful”, which was originally written by Katharine Lee Bates and then later rewritten by Samuel Ward. I would also sing “My country Tis of Thee”, which was written by Samuel Francis Smith. When it came to the “Star Spangled Banner”, written by Francis Scott Key, I could only remember one stanza. “And the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air, gave prove through the night that our flag was still there!” O say . . .
There was a sense of pride knowing we were Americans. Though, I did not know Christ until my late teens. Still, we knew we were a Christian Nation. In our young hearts we honored Christ and Country. Life back then was wholesome and simple. Every morning the principle prayed over the intercom, and then lead us in the “Pledge of Allegiance”, written by Francis Bellamy. That is how every school day started. It was the norm. Even though I was a child I could still feel a shield of protection over us and over our Nation. I still get chocked up when we pledge allegiance to the flag of these great United States of America and to the republic for which we stand, one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all. At a very early age we were taught to love our country. As we grew up we begin to see and understand that America stood alone in honor and glory. We did not have to be told, but knew that God was the one who had exalted America from an infant Nation to a Super Power.
Most of us grew up hearing adults speak proudly and lovingly about America. Almost every adult I knew was willing to lay down their lives for America. We children repeated the same words. I must have said a thousand times I am willing to lay down my life for my country.
Great people immigrated to America in those days; people who had big dreams and added value to our Nation. We were a nation of integrity and noble character. Even the poor were honest and noble. We were a people that stood on our own two feet and sat on our own bottom.
Remember that commercial of the Native American man whose tears ran down his cheek to see how polluted and littered the land was? I feel the same way. America the beautiful has changed. When the leaders of our country say we are no longer a Christian nation, they do not speak for me. America is and will be one nation under God until God says otherwise.
Until then, God bless America, and may America bless God for His great goodness towards us.