I like to think that you're better than Christina Aguilera and can at least make it through the first verse of our country's National Anthem without a major flub. But, I'm willing to bet that there are a number of patriotic songs that you don't actually know the words to. In fact, you probably have a hard time coming up with a bunch of different patriotic songs to even start with.
I have a creepily good memory for song lyrics — plus I was a total choir nerd in high school. So, I can probably bust out a pretty solid rendition of a variety of patriotic melodies aside from just “The Star-Spangled Banner."
Of course, you're used to hearing the National Anthem performed before different concerts and sporting events, so remembering the words to that should be a pretty simple task. But, when's the last time you've heard "America the Beautiful," "This Land Is Your Land," or "My Country 'Tis of Thee"? It's probably been a while, making those tunes a little trickier to belt out with confidence.
So — to get you in the spirit for the Fourth of July — here are five patriotic songs you don't know all the words to. Fair warning: you'll probably start humming along as you read these.
1. "The Star-Spangled Banner"
We'll start with an easy one, because I'm fairly confident you've got the first verse down pat. But, what about the following three verses? Take a look at the words that you had no idea even existed:
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines on the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust." And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
2. "My Country 'Tis of Thee"
I don't think I've sung this song since elementary school, but the first verse has always managed to stay stuck in my brain. But, this tune is another one where the following verses are completely neglected:
My country tis of thee,Sweet land of liberty,Of thee I sing.Land where my fathers died!Land of the Pilgrim's pride!From every mountain side,Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,Land of the noble free,Thy name I love.I love thy rocks and rills,Thy woods and templed hills;My heart with rapture fillsLike that above.
Let music swell the breeze,And ring from all the treesSweet freedom's song.Let mortal tongues awake;Let all that breathe partake;Let rocks their silence break,The sound prolong.
Our father's God to, Thee,Author of liberty,To Thee we sing.Long may our land be brightWith freedom's holy light;Protect us by Thy might,Great God, our King!
3. "America, The Beautiful"
Here's yet another song with many abandoned verses. However, people manage to mess up the well-known first verse plenty, too. Sigh.
O beautiful for spacious skies,For amber waves of grain,For purple mountain majestiesAbove the fruited plain!America! America! God shed His grace on thee,And crown thy good with brotherhoodFrom sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,Whose stern impassion’d stressA thoroughfare for freedom beatAcross the wilderness!America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,Confirm thy soul in self-control,Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,Who more than self their country loved,And mercy more than life!America! America! May God thy gold refineTill all success be nobleness,And ev’ry gain divine!
O Beautiful for patriot dreamThat sees beyond the yearsThine alabaster cities gleam,Undimmed by human tears!America! America! God shed His grace on thee,And crown thy good with brotherhoodFrom sea to shining sea!
4. "This Land Is Your Land"
The first verse of this one is only four lines long, so it's somewhat easy to remember. But, there are six additional verses that follow it. No wonder nobody knows this whole song!
This land is your land This land is my landFrom California to the New York island; From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and Me.
As I was walking that ribbon of highway, I saw above me that endless skyway: I saw below me that golden valley: This land was made for you and me.
I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts; And all around me a voice was sounding: This land was made for you and me.
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling, And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling, As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting: This land was made for you and me.
As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." But on the other side it didn't say nothing, That side was made for you and me.
In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, By the relief office I seen my people; As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking Is this land made for you and me?
Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking that freedom highway; Nobody living can ever make me turn back This land was made for you and me.
5. The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Upon hearing the title of this one, most people will probably look at you and say, "Huh?" Just starting singing "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" and they'll know exactly what you're talking about — because those are probably the only words in this entire song that everybody knows.
Mine eyes have seen the glory Of the coming of the LordHe is trampling out the vintage Where the grapes of wrath are storedHe has loosed the fateful lightening Of His terrible swift swordHis truth is marching onI have seen him in the watch-fires Of a hundred circling campsThey have builded him an altar In the evening dews and dampsI can read his righteous sentence By the dim and flaring lampsHis day is marching onI have read a fiery gospel Writ in burnish'd rows of steelAs ye deal with my condemners So with you my grace shall dealLet the hero, born of woman Crush the serpent with his heelSince God is marching onGlory, glory, hallelujahGlory, glory, hallelujahGlory, glory, hallelujahOur God is marching onHe has sounded form the trumpet That shall never call retreatHe is sifting out the hearts of men Before His judgment-seatOh, be swift, my soul To answer him be jubilant, my feetOur God is marching onGlory, glory, hallelujahGlory, glory, hallelujahGlory, glory, hallelujahOur God is marching onIn the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the seaWith a glory in his bosom That transfigures you and meAs he died to make men holy Let us live to make men freeWhile God is marching onGlory, glory, hallelujahGlory, glory, hallelujahGlory, glory, hallelujahOur God is marching on
Images: Lauren Beck/Flickr; Giphy (5)