In his magnificent recording of “America the Beautiful,” Ray Charles distills the essence of American popular music in his patented style. In order to overcome the familiarity that prevents us from hearing the words of such songs, Charles begins with the song’s relatively unknown third verse on martial sacrifice — the verse that seems particularly appropriate today:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success
And every gain divine!
A special thank you to all our forces whose service has brought this great day to pass.