Fourth of July and Poetry

Happy Fourth of July!
I like how this poem speaks to the character of the people creating a nation. I think of all those many people in history that are not in the textbooks but are in the fabric of our country. E pluribus unum.
A Nation’s Strength
by William Ralph Emerson (the cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson; William Ralph Emerson was an architect and this language of building rests in this poem)
What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
My best to you all,

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