Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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January 30, 2007 |
Garrison, Garrison, Garrison!
I find it difficult to believe that someone as well-read as yourself would persist in singing our beloved, America the Beautiful, with incorrect words! The phrase is "for purple mountain (no "s") majesties", and in the final verse it is "for patriot (again, no "s") dream". I beg, beseech, implore you to read Lynn Sherr's wonderful book about the song which tells "The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation's Favorite Song". It's mine, too, and since you're in a position to influence the singing public, I hope you'll help everyone to get it right! Thanks!
I don't sing "America the Beautiful" from a text, my dear. I learned it in the third grade, and that was a long long time ago. When I sing the verses about the heroes proved in liberating strife and the pilgrims' feet (or is it pilgrim feet?) I sing the same refrain at the end of each one ---- "America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea," although that's not how Katherine Lee Bates wrote it, and I'm well aware of that.
I imagine that many of the two-thousand who sang the song sang it your way, the true and correct way, without the slight sibilance, and others sang it my way, and maybe some sang it another way. This happens in life.