About the Name

A pastor, educator, foreign minister and poet, Henry Van Dyke penned a piece entitled “America for Me” in 1909. In it, Van Dyke describes what is presumably his experience while abroad in Europe. He speaks of the continent’s rich history and cultural wonders … but pines for the land of his birth; a land of “youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars, where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.” 


As I read the piece, my eyes caught on a particular sentence in the fifth verse:

But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free,— 

In other words, it is our duty in the present to make sure our future remains free, which is exactly why I chose to begin writing.

And so it began!

 

“AMERICA FOR ME”

‘TIS fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of the kings,—
But now I think I’ve had enough of antiquated things.

           So it’s home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars!

Oh, London is a man’s town, there’s power in the air;
And Paris is a woman’s town, with flowers in her hair;
And it’s sweet to dream in Venice, and it’s great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

I like the German fir-woods, in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!

I know that Europe’s wonderful, yet something seems to lack:
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free,—
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

           Oh, it’s home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that’s westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the bléssed Land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars

One thought on “About the Name

  1. It was great meeting you on “voting” day – I was the judge asking you questions. I like your blog – keep it up. Too many young people are so busy with their lives to pay attention to what is happening with our government – when they finally pay attention it may be too late……

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