Land of the Empire Builders, Land of the Golden West;
Conquered and held by free men, Fairest and the best.
On-ward and upward ever, Forward and on, and on;
Hail to thee, Land of the Heroes, My Oregon.
Land of the rose and sunshine, Land of the summer’s breeze;
Laden with health and vigor, Fresh from the western seas.
Blest by the blood of martyrs, Land of the setting sun;
Hail to thee, Land of Promise, My Oregon.
Oregon, My Oregon (Oregon’s State Song), by JA Buchanan
I am a 5th generation Oregonian. My family has been here in the rich farmland of the Tualatin Valley for nearly 150 years.
I often think of the men and women who came here before there were any roads or trails, forging through virgin forest, trekking over deserts, making their way where “no man had gone before.” They were pioneers on the Oregon Trail, fulfilling their dreams of a land where empires could be built and freedom would prevail in the golden West.
These men and women and children left behind all that they knew to travel to a place they’d only ever heard about. They had no proof that it even existed but for the words of prophets with visions of seeing the unseen.
Along the 2,200 mile journey from Missouri to Oregon, many died without ever seeing the land promised. Others fought to complete the journey over high mountains, deep and dangerous gorges, and through lands of wild animals and hostile Indians, discarding their personal and cherished belongings out of their Conestoga wagons to lighten the burden.
But the journey was worth the trials. The greatness of things to come was greater than the difficulty of walking the unseen pathway. With so much to gain, how could they begrudge the Oregon Trail?
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having see then afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland … a better, that is a heavenly country. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 11:13, 14, 16; 12:1).
** I am grateful to Mrs Rogers, Mrs Hawk, and Mrs Tracy, my 2nd grade teachers, for having us sing the Oregon State Song every school day.