Tune of the Day: America the Beautiful
This melody comes from the hymn “Materna” by American organist and composer Samuel A. Ward, who actually never met the author of the words of “America the Beautiful”, Katharine Lee Bates.
At various times in the more than 100 years that have elapsed since the song as we know it was born, particularly during the John F. Kennedy administration, there have been efforts to give “America the Beautiful” legal status either as a national hymn, or as a national anthem equal to, or in place of, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, but so far this has not succeeded. Proponents prefer “America the Beautiful” for various reasons, saying it is easier to sing, more melodic, and more adaptable to new orchestrations while still remaining as easily recognizable as “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Some prefer “America the Beautiful” over “The Star-Spangled Banner” due to the latter's war-oriented imagery. (Others prefer “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the same reason.) Anyway, “America the Beautiful” continues to be held in high esteem by a large number of Americans.