Samuel Francis Smith & My Country tis of Thee

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Published on: November 15, 2014

 “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.'”

If you are interested in quotes on “My Country” see below:

“If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice…But while I do live, let me have a country, and that a free country!” – John Adams 

“While my country calls for the exertion of that little share of abilities, which it has pleased God to bestow on me, I hold it my indispensable duty to give myself to her.” – Gouverneur Morris 

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” – Nathan Hale 

“I shall anticipate…the place to be assigned me in the history of my country, and die contented with the belief that I have contributed… to…prolong the duration of American liberty.” – Andrew Jackson 

“I implore the Spirit from whom every good and perfect gift descends to enable me to render essential service to my country.” – John Quincy Adams 

“The ends I aim at shall be my country’s, my God’s, and Truth’s. I was born an American; I will live an American; I shall die an American.” – Daniel Webster 

“I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.” – President Eisenhower, Code of Conduct for Military 

“No, this is a service for my country, and it doesn’t matter whether I do it as an officer or as a plainsman. The big thing is to do it.” – Kit Carson 

“No personal consideration shall induce me to abandon the righteous cause of my country. Tell Governor Gage it is the advise of Samuel Adams to him no longer to insult the feelings of an exasperated people.” – Samuel Adams 

“Our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality…I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire.” – George Washington

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson

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