On This Day in History: January 29, 

1861 – Kansas admitted as the 34th state


Grace R. Stewart

Standing here so close to you,
It seems that I am seeing you
For the first time.
Yet, I cannot remember
The first time I ever saw you,
Though I remember quite well
The first time I ever touched you.
It was the fourth of July.
I paid a dime for you.
I did not know then
That you could not be bought
But that men would give for you
All that they had —
Even their lives.
I did not know
That what I held in my hand
Was not you;
No one told me,
But, of course,
Those things can’t be told;
Each person must learn them
For himself.
I did not know that you had
A heart that could feel,
A mind that could think,
And a body that could work;
But I know you now
For what you are
I’ve learned my lesson.

You are a mother
Waiting for a word from her son,
And the word never comes.
You are a father
Working patiently,
Hoping for a better day,
A better world —
You are a proud young men
With light and laughter
In their voices.
You are the hands of young women
Roughened and harded by work.
You are a mother
Holding her first born
Tenderly close to her breast,
And wearing a Distinguished Service Cross
And a Purple Heart
Pinned on her dress.
You are the boys and girls
Offering their pledge to you
In the school houses of America.
You are men and women
Of every language, of every color,
Of every creed.
Going to the church of their choice
On Sunday morning.
You are the noise of the busy city;
The peace of the country side
At twilight hour,
You are all of these
And something more:
You are Truth,
And Truth is Freedom;
“You shall know the Truth,” he said,
“And the Truth shall make you free.”

Yes, I know you now;
I can see you clearly;
You have changed.
You are not new and stiff and shiny
As you were on that summer day
So long ago.
You are stained with tears;
You are dirty with sweat;
You are torn and bleeding,
But you have wept before;
You have toiled before;
You have bled before,
And I know in my heart
That when this that is upon us
Shall have passed away
You will still in Freedom be flying
Over a people born to be free.