America The Beautiful


America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea![su_spacer]

–From America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates (1913)

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap] WAS AWAKE most of last night. I do not know if the thought of turning 61 was bothering me but I woke up and could not get back to sleep. And as we all do, my mind began racing when suddenly, the song America the Beautiful began playing in my head and I began thinking about the Presidential election and the candidates running to be the leader of the free world. If I could set them down, I think I would remind them of the words to this wonderful song and share these words with them.

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain; For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain![su_spacer]

One of the most wonderful parts of being a Marine for 20 years was the number of times I drove across this great country of ours. I have driven through Nebraska back when there was no speed limit and enjoyed seeing the wheat and corn growing tall in the fields. I have stopped my car in the Rocky Mountains just to look out over the wonder and actually come to understand the phrase “purple mountains majesties”. So, if you want to be President of this great country, protect our land- our environment. Work to balance the business needs of our country while preserving the beauty that is America. Our children, grandchildren, and future generations deserve to sing this song and see what we have seen – the wonder of God’s creation here in our own Country.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern impassioned stress; A thoroughfare for freedom beat across the wilderness! America! America! God mend thine every flaw. Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law![su_spacer]

Remember, our forefathers were a people who loved freedom. They came here to worship the God they loved in a manner that allowed them to draw near to His Holy presence. They became a melting pot of people who finally rose up to liberate themselves from tyranny. They came together to write this amazing document we call the Constitution that creates positions of leadership in this country whose sole purpose is to defend the very liberty for which they fought and died. So, if you want to be President of this great country, read the history of the Revolutionary War and especially about the heroes of our new country, read the Constitution and understand just how important defending our freedom was to our forefathers, and remember, we are a flawed people who sometimes make mistakes. So, be quick to admit wrongs and then work hard to correct them – not to divide us as a nation – but to unite us in a common cause – the cause of freedom for all men and women in a country founded on liberty.

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![su_spacer]

This country was founded upon sacrifice. Good men willingly gave their lives so that the colonies could be a free and independent nation. Good men fought and died to preserve the new nation when brother fought against brother in the Civil War. Good men and women who came forward to fight in world wars so that the world could see we valued liberty not only for ourselves but for all mankind. And brave men and women who still give their lives today to protect us from terrorists who hate our way of life because we refuse hand over our freedom and be subjected to the whims of but a few. So, if you are going to be the President of this great country, remember that our freedoms and our liberty that so many take for granted because of the comfort in which we live was purchased with the blood of America’s men and women who unselfishly died so that these freedoms would be available for the future generations of Americans.

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![su_spacer]

jfkinauguration_wide-eb7b471020f0504238dd8d6dfdb935bcd69147c0-s800-c85Our big cities, out small towns, our communities used to be beacons of light to a world that wondered if the American experiment was worth the cost. Out light is growing dim because we have become too comfortable with government taking responsibility for everything in our lives. So, if you are going to be President of this country, remember that John F. Kennedy spoke boldly on the day of his inauguration;

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.[su_spacer]

Bring responsibility back to America and to the American people. Remind every American that we can be great only if we work together toward the common goal of preserving the freedom and liberty that made this nation great. Remind them that we are America – the land of the free and the home of the brave – from sea to shining sea!


Len Bernat
Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.

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  1. Len: Great piece. It is certainly enough to keep one awake considering the mess our country is in and the slippery slope we are on. Sliding into socialism, big government, and out of control spending. I wish I had a better comfort level with the candidates running. I’m not sure any of them can cope with the problems in this country, much less those of the world that impact us.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Ken – It is troubling but maybe, at the last minute, common sense will prevail. If not, then quoting from Mae West, “Hold on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”