I know you don’t have to live away from the country you love and call HOME to deeply appreciate it – but I do know that for me it has made a difference. I have been to all 7 continents, visited at least 34 countries (some for more than just a short “tourist visit”), and lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong (twice), the Philippines (twice), Indonesia, and Nigeria (West Africa). Each time I have returned home to America, I have prayed I would keep my feelings of gratitude fresh – that I would never lose how it felt to come HOME.


This is INDEPENDENCE DAY (although we more common call it “The Fourth of July”). It’s a time when many thing mostly of fireworks or picnics (or “Stadium of Fire!”) or something. I hope we’ll think of independence and liberty, and deep gratitude for those women and men who have fought “here, there, and everywhere” to preserve our liberty, our freedom, our Constitution, our privilege of living in a promised land.


I’m thinking and praying today for those who have no home – for those who are refugees (as many of our forefathers were when they were forced to leave America and head across the Plains to what is now Utah). The Savior was a refugee, fleeing with his family to Egypt during the time when Herod demanded that all little boys two or younger in and around Bethlehem were to be killed. MATTHEW 2:16 – Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. I’m currently reading the Old Testament, and the 600,000 or more Israelites have just left Egypt after 400 years . . . . (I think if the oceans didn’t “divide,” the Israelites could have walked all the way to America in the 40 years they were in the wilderness).


Many who live in almost ANY country in the world have feelings about their HOME similar to my feelings about MY home. I remember being on a ship where several young Indonesian men were helping with our luggage. I was with my Mother, and we felt such love and appreciation for the help we were given. When I found out they were from Indonesia, I began speaking to them in that language. They were “terkesan!” (Amazed). It was as if we were instant friends. As they finished and we were heading to our room, I stood and sang the Indonesian national anthem (and the tears have come even thinking about this). “Indonesia, tana air ku…”  (Indonesia, my homeland, The land where I shed my blood, Right there, I stand To be a guide of my motherland… and so on) We cried together. It was an unforgettable moment. I remember standing in theatres before movies began (yes, we had permission to do that a few times) in Taiwan – everyone stood quietly as the National Anthem was played with scenes and messages on the screen (Chiang Kai Shek was still alive, living in Taipei). And I love the national anthem of the Philippines: “LUPANG HINIRANG.” Bayang magiliw, perlas ng silanganan. Alab ng puso, sa dibdib mo’y buhay. Lupang hinirang, duyan ka ng magiting Sa manlulupig, di ka pasisiil. (Land of the morning, Child of the sun returning, With fervor burning, Thee do our souls adore). And of course there’s “O Canada!!”… I love their anthem! “O Canada! Our home and native land!” . . . . (Yes, I could go on and on, but I’ll let Canada be our “finale”). Today I think of my own homeland and of those who have truly loved America and those who still do. I love my HOME!


When I got back after my first mission (I had served for 2 years), I literally kissed the ground (no… I don’t have a picture….).  So for today I express deep thanks for my HOME, for AMERICA.


GOD BLESS AMERICA – Words and music by Irving Berlin
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. ”
God Bless America, Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her  Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.


And the hymn we sang in Sacrament meeting yesterday, which also brings deep, deep feelings to my soul: (This is a longer version than most of us are acquainted with)

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL – Words by Katharine Lee Bates, Melody by Samuel Ward

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties  Above the fruited plain!
America! America!  God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood  From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet  Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat  Across the wilderness!
America! America!  God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,  Thy liberty in law!
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 every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream  That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam  Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!  God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood  From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for halcyon skies,  For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties  Above the enameled plain!
America! America!  God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air  And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrims feet, Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat  Across the wilderness!
America! America!  God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought  By pilgrim foot and knee!



8 thoughts on “GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  1. Johanne Artman

    Thank you so much for all that you have said. I have not traveled as much as you, but I have been to other countries. Our 4 Years in England-living in a house that was older than the USA and which sheltered refugees during the bombing of London during the war, was such a treat. But there is still no place like home-America, the land of the free and the home of the brave (if we can survive this next election).
    Thank you for all your posts!

    1. MEEThinks Post author

      I too hope we can survive all that is going on . . . . Thanks for your note — how fascinating to have lived in such a “storied home” in England! Love to both of you

  2. Teri Wharff

    Happy Independence Day to you dear MEE! I so love those beautiful hymns and anthems. I also love that you shared those from Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines! Patriotism is alive and well throughout this great Earth that God blessed us all with! God bless America!

  3. Jeff Chapman

    MEE, rejoiced while reading this tribute to our precious country. Thanks so much Mary Ellen for sharing your thoughts. Much love from your Rexburg Fans,
    Jeff & Kristi Chapman

    1. MEEThinks Post author

      I loved seeing your note and your names. Some day we’ll see each other again, and it will be SO HAPPIFYING!!! Much love to both of you!


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