This year, as we celebrate the 244th birthday of the greatest nation the world has ever known, we are beset with many problems, some of our making and some we have no control over.
But, be that as it is, America is still the greatest and I want to express my personal feelings about our beloved country, its magnificence, its beauty, and its diverse population.
Wishing all Americans a happy and reflective Independence Day.
"My Beautiful America"
Have you ever spent the late afternoon,
Watching the purple shadows deepen in the Arizona desert?
Or seen a herd of Elk plow their way
Through waist-deep snow on a cold Colorado dawn?
Did you ever see the sun go down in Hawaii
Or seen the stormy waves break over the rockbound coast of Maine
Or have you ever see an eagle fly up out of the mists of Alaska
Or a big October moon hanging full over the still Dakota badlands?
Have you ever tasted the gumbo in New Orleans, barbecue in Carolina
Or the chicken wings in Buffalo?
Have you ever had Brunswick stew in Macon, or cornbread in Birmingham?
Or briskets slow cook over hill country mesquite wood?
Did you ever drink the water from a gurgling branch in Utah,
Or stand on the mountain above El Paso Del Norte
And see the lights twinkling clear over into Mexico?
Did you ever jingle horses in the pre-dawn stillness of a perfect Texas day
And watch their shod hooves kicking up sparks on the volcanic rock?
Or tended a trotline on a foggy Carolina morning,
Or heard the distant love song of a lovesick whippoorwill
On a pristine Tennessee late night?
Have you seen the faces on Mount Rushmore or stood at the Vietnam monument?
Have you ever crossed the mighty Mississippi,
Or been to the Daddy of ‘Em All in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Or seen the mighty Vols run out on the football field on a chilly autumn afternoon?
Did you ever see the Chicago skyline from Lakeshore Drive at night
Or the New England foliage in the fall,
Or the summer beauty of the Shenandoah Valley,
Or Indiana covered with new snow?
Did you ever seen a herd of wild horses running free
Across the empty spaces of Nevada?
Or caught a walleyed pike out of a cold Wisconsin stream,
Or marveled at the tall ships docked in the harbor at Baltimore?
Did you ever see the early morning dew sparkling on the bluegrass,
Or the wind stir the wheat fields on a hot Kansas afternoon
Or driven the lonely stretches of old Route 66?
Have you ever heard the church bells peal their call to worship
On an early Sunday, in some small town in the Deep South?
Or passed through the Redwood Forest just as the sun was going down?
Have you ever been to Boise or Baxley or Beaufort or Billings?
Have you ever passed through Sanford or Suffolk or San Angelo?
Have you ever seen the falls at Niagara,
The Ice Palace in Saint Paul,
Or the Gateway to the West?
This then is America!
The land God blesses with everything
And no Eiffel Tower, no Taj Mahal,
No Alps, No Andes,
No native hut, nor Royal Palace,
Can rival her awesome beauty,
Her diverse population, her monolithic majesty.
America the Free
America the mighty
America the beautiful
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands,
One nation, under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, and for the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.
Editor's Note: Charlie Daniels published this piece, including lyrics from his song "My Beautiful America," on Friday, shortly before passing away on Monday. CNSNews.com interviewed Daniels in 2017: