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“Oh beautiful, for spacious skies – for amber waves of grain.” Have you ever been so struck by the beauty of the world around you that you had to pause, take a moment, and write down the words that have sprung into your mind expressing your thoughts, as if in some effort to solidify what you felt in that moment? Well, perhaps not, if you do not identify as a writer; but as I do ascribe unto myself as being somewhat of a writer, I relate to Katharine Lee Bates, author of “America the Beautiful.”

As many hymns do, “America the Beautiful” originated as a poem that was not set to music, originally titled “Pikes Peak.” A professor of English literature at Wellesley College, she taught for a brief time during the summer of 1893 at Colorado College. Upon making the trek up to Pike’s Peak, she was struck by the beauty of the view around her from her vantage point. Seeing “purple mountain majesties” is enough to make almost anyone pause, even for just a moment, to reflect on the world around them. Fueled by a love for her country, the patriotic poem was written as soon as she returned to her hotel room.

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