Sunday, January 01, 2012

"Liberating Strife"

I rarely thank politicians, particularly Republican politicians.  However Mr. Romney is celebrating American patriotic music, as discussed in this NYTimes piece today, and his interest triggered my interest.
And Mr. Romney does not just recite the lyrics — he annotates them, offering his interpretation of the meaning. “Most of the time when we sing a song, we don’t think much about the words,” he said. “But I’ve begun looking at these words and thinking about them.”
“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,” he said, is a reference to the country’s soldiers. (“Any veterans in this room here today?” he asked. “Thank you for your service.”)
The complete verse reads:
O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov'd,
And mercy more than life
For those interested, Katherine Lee Bates wrote the poem in 1895. From her background and the timing, I assume the verse praises the Union soldiers of the Civil War.  I suspect Mr. Romney wants it to cover the veterans of more recent wars, but that's a stretch. Indeed, Mr. Romney might want to soft-pedal his affection for the song, at least that verse, when he campaigns in South Carolina

No comments: