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 highAnd its foundations strong?What makes it mighty to defyThe foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grandGo down in battle shock;Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dustOf empires passed away;The blood has turned their stones to rust,Their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah, that bright crownHas seemed to nations sweet;But God has struck its luster downIn ashes at his feet.Not gold but only men can makeA people great and strong;Men who for truth and honor’s sakeStand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,Who dare while others fly…They build a nation’s pillars deepAnd lift them to the sky.
My best to you all,