Note from Joe (written before 9/11/2001): Patriotism is passé in this era of interdependence. Or so they tell me. Well, does that mean that we can’t be proud of our homes and of our heritage? I think we still can. After traveling abroad to see the beauty of many lands, I always became eager to return home, feeling exactly what Van Dyke must have been feeling when he wrote this poem which soon afterwards was set to music. I’m proud to be a responsible citizen of the Earth, but I’m also very, very proud to be an American, and count it among my blessings.
’Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down
Among the famous places and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of their kings —
But now I think I’ve had enough of antiquated things.
Oh, London is a man’s town, there’s power in the air;
And Paris is a woman’s town, with flowers in the hair;
And it’s sweet to dream in Venice, and it’s great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living... there is no place like home.
I like the German fir-woods, in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!
I know that Europe’s wonderful, yet something seems to lack:
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make our Future free —
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.