04 July 2011

America The Beautiful in Sisterhood

You know I went to women's college, right? Well, one campus tradition is a gentle revision of the words to America the Beautiful:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above thy fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed her grace on thee,
And crown thy good with sisterhood
From sea to shining sea

But 'tis okay, because the lyrics were written by Katharine Lee Bates, a graduate of and an English professor at Wellesley. I mean, if anyone's going to mess with her lyrics, it'd be her fellow alumnae and matriculants, yes?

On Memorial Day, there was a singing of America the Beautiful down at the ceremony at the train station. I sang along, I always do, and I sang out my cranky feminist version of the lyrics (which, incidentally, I've taught to my daughter, thank you very much) and the woman standing next to me just grinned at me approvingly when we were through.

So, if you happen to be of the female persuasion, and happen to be singing America the Beautiful today, Independence Day, perhaps you want to fix the lyrics too.

Enjoy your Fourth.

7 comments:

Harriet said...

My women's college did things like that too, particularly in Chapel. But I have a soft spot in my heart for Bates. When I did summer stock on Cape Cod, I had to drive down Katherine Lee Bates Rd. regularly.

Mental P Mama said...

We have changed the creed in our Episcopal church to say she!

anymommy said...

I love it. That's how I sing it to my kids, at least with the "her". I always change God to a her!

Melissa said...

I graduated from Wellesley in 2001 and when we sang it at graduation, we totally changed it too. I changed it last night during the Boston Pops sing a long too. :)

yogurt said...

Love it and will do. Will absolutely do.

Rima said...

I like this very much. In Lithuanian, country names are all feminine.

anna ~ random handprints said...

i dont even know where i got the idea from, but as a kid i was always silent for the "under God" part of the pledge of allegiance. i felt like i was really making a statement. i too change all the he's to she's even if sometimes only in my head :)