Let Freedom Ring,
Oh, Great God our King,
Let Freedom Ring!

The lines above are the last three lines of My Country Tis of Thee, which for 100 years was one of three unofficial national anthems of the United States,  until the Star-Spangled Banner was made the official national anthem in 1932. The other was Hail Columbia, written by Philip Phile in 1789 for the inauguration of George Washington. Hail Columbia has since become the Vice-President’s official march. My Country ‘Tis of Thee uses the music of the British national anthem, God Save the Queen, but the American words were composed in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1831 by Samuel Francis Smith. It was first sung on July 4, 1831, at an Independence Day celebration for children on Park Street in Boston.

The words to My Country ‘Tis of Thee are easy to learn, and it was popular music at public gatherings and public schools, when I was in elementary and junior high school in Memphis, Tennessee.  We probably sang it several times a month in my fifth grade class. We also had brief Bible readings every morning, rotated among the students. Our teacher, Mrs. Jach, also taught us to sing the hymn,  O Worship the King. She also spent some time each day reading to us, including historical fiction works like The Prince and the Pauper by Charles Dickens. Everybody loved the reading, and even today, Charles Dickens is one of my favorite writers. Hearing My Country ‘Tis of Thee and O Worship the King bring a wave of nostalgia over me when I hear them now. I cannot help but reflect how far from God the nation has drifted, although the South has not drifted as far as most of the nation.

Recently in Texas, a 17-year old girl, Abby Anderson, sang and played on her guitar her own version of My Country Tis of Thee at her high school graduation. She had just decided to play it at 10:00 PM, the night before. As Providence would have it, Glen Beck was in the audience. He helped her record it, and it has gone viral. She is not making millions. All the proceeds go to help military personnel and veterans. Basically, she has written a chorus to be sung before the first stanza and after each of the four original stanzas. She is a talented vocalist and musician on both piano and guitar. Perhaps because of the deep troubles our country is now experiencing, when our freedoms and rights are being trampled into the ground, when the God of our fathers is being discarded from our government, our military, our schools, most of the media, and our history books; Abby Anderson’s new version of My Country ‘Tis of Thee, which she calls appropriately, Let Freedom Ring, has brought tears to the eyes of many an old patriot or veteran, including especially me. Read these words and shed your tears for our country as it is now, but draw from your tears holy resolution that we shall not tolerate the desecration of our heritage and freedoms. Nor will we forget the Divine Author of our freedoms, whose mighty providence has brought us forth as a nation and guided us through every storm. May our land be bright again with freedom’s Holy light. So help us, God!

Here is Abby Anderson’s version of My Country Tis of Thee: Let Freedom Ring.


Let Freedom Ring,

Let Freedom Ring,

Great God our King.

From sea to shinning sea,

Let freedom ring.

Oh, Great God our King,

Let Freedom ring.


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 father’s 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.


Let Freedom Ring,

Oh, Great God our King,

Let Freedom Ring!


Leonard M. (Mike) Scruggs is the author of Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You, 2009; and The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths, 2011.

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