Jackie Gingrich Cushman

The talking and thinking part was certainly accomplished.

The history of the song makes the controversy more interesting. The song was written first as a poem by Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College, when she was visiting Colorado during summer break in 1895 and was overwhelmed by the beauty of Pike's Peak.

"American the Beautiful" was rewritten several times. In 1925, a contest was held to set the poem to music. The poem is most commonly paired with "Materna" by Samuel Augustus Ward.

"That the hymn has gained ... such a hold as it has upon our people, is clearly due to the fact that Americans are, at heart, idealists," said Bates, "with a fundamental faith in human brotherhood."

Bates also wrote a collection of sonnets titled, "Yellow Clover: A Book of Remembrance," dedicated to the love of her life, fellow professor Katharine Coman, with whom she lived for 25 years.

America's strength is our background. A nation of immigrants who come willingly to our shores, people who choose freedom and liberty. The Statue of Liberty, standing guard in New York, provides refuge for those who are fleeing other countries looking for freedom, possibly fleeing tyranny,

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

America is best not only when it embraces a diversity of background, ethnicity and country of origin, but more importantly, when we as a nation, as individual citizens, embrace a diversity of ideas. Especially those that may be opposed to our own.

Freedom of speech: the core of liberty and democracy.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.