America The Beautiful

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

In the last several days, when the TV has been filled with images and stories of great tragedies.  I think three musical moments have touched me the most, each having brought tears to my eyes.

The first was the impromptu singing of "God Bless America" by the U.S. Congress on the steps of the Capitol, when they regrouped, following a day of terror.

The second was yesterday, at the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" by the Coldstream Guards in London, during a changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.  It was the first time they'd ever played it, and they played it before their own anthem, as a show of solidarity and compassion.

The third was just now, during the National Prayer Service in Washington, when the soloist sang that verse that I put at the top of this page.