Over this weekend, my wife and I went through some boxes of books in our garage, books we haven’t seen in years.  We’ve been trying to declutter as much as possible.  So far, we’ve done a decent job of getting rid of useless junk hiding in boxes, waiting to be thrown away.  We gave them their wish.  

But, not everything was junk.  In one of the boxes of books, I found my Grandma’s (Rhoda Crist Hoke) high school English composition book.  She was born in 1892, so if I assume it was her senior year, and she was 18 years old, that would put the age of the book at 111 years old (1910 – 2021).  I’m not sure how it ended up in my possession, but I’m glad I have it.

In it are history papers she had to write about American’s expansion west, about several presidents, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and more.  Most of the marks she received were in the 94-97 point range.  The only dings she got were for spelling on a few words.  It sounds like she was a pretty good student.  But, those compositions were not what caught my eye about her writing.

What caught my eye was a series of what she called songs, further back in the book.  I call them poems since there is no musical score with the words.  She had an index page listing 21 songs.  At this point in time, I don’t know if she actually wrote all of the ones listed or possibly wrote down the words to then, current songs.  In any event, one stood out as one I wanted to share on this American Memorial Day weekend.  It’s called “Native Land.”

NATIVE LAND  –  RHODA CRIST HOKE

America home of  the free,
Native land, my native land.
Again I raise my voice to thee,
Native land, my native land,
To sing thy praise in lofty song,
Lean only on thy son’s belong,
We shout for thee in chorus strong.
Native land, my native land.

Of thee, full many a tale is told,
Native land, my native land,
How freemen fought in days of old,
Native land, my native land,
Thy sons are noble true and strong,
To guard the right against the wrong,
And bear the starry flag along,
Native land, my native land.

No Despot’s foot shall tread thy shore,
Native land, my native land,
Thou shalt be free forevermore,
Native land, my native land,
For thee, thy son’s would freely die,
To keep the starry flag on high,
Native land, my native land. 

In tribute to our American war dead, from too many wars, I ask God’s blessings and protective hands on those left behind.  And to those still on the front lines, I also pray for His protection where you serve.  I am grateful for your service and dedication to our country.  God bless you all.

Title (texas-writer74.com)

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