I sang this song in sixth grade, in an elementary school chorus where we we were taught three-part harmony and music theory as well. It was pretty remarkable. I had actually forgotten about America, Our Heritage until I found the program for our May 1964 concert in my dad's journal for that year. But as soon as I saw the title, words and music came flooding back. It must have made an impression on me, because I sure can't say that's true of all the songs we sang.
I find this song particularly appropriate for Thanksgiving. It moves me to gratitude that this was truly the America I grew up in, and that, dark as the days may sometimes seem, this American Dream is worth working for, praying for, fighting for, and above all hoping for.
America, Our Heritage
Words and music by Helen Steele
High towering mountains, fields gold with grain,
Rich, fertile farmlands, flocks on the plain,
Homes blessed with peace, with love, without fears;
This is the heritage we've kept through the years.
Wide rolling prairies, lakes deep and broad,
Canyons majestic, fashioned by God,
Life lived in peace, contented and free:
This is the heritage forever to be.
Stout hearts and true hold fast what is ours
God give us courage through darkest hours.
God give us strength and guide with thy hand
America, our heritage, our homeland.
The Girl Scout version skips a verse, but you'll get the idea.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!