In 1832, Samuel Francis Smith was a 24-year-old theological student at Andover Theological Seminary, when he wrote the song that many call our “unofficial National Anthem.” He penned this song on a scrap piece of paper in less than 30 minutes, the song many Americans say is their favorite patriotic hymn.
After his graduation from Harvard and the Andover Theological Seminary, Smith was a minister in several different Baptist churches in the East. He also composed 150 hymns during his 87 years. He also became editor of a missionary magazine where he had a strong influence promoting the cause of missions. He later became the secretary of the Baptist Missionary Union and visited and spent time in many of the various foreign fields.
Here is his unforgettable patriotic hymn to our great nation we celebrate on Independence Day:
My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry 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 thrills like that above.
Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song:
Let mortal tongues awake, let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.
Our fathers’ God, to Thee, author of liberty, to Thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might, great God, our King!
May God continue his blessings on this great nation. Amen.