Best Of :: People & Places
Since September 11, security screeners at Denver International Airport have confiscated enough scrap metal -- in the form of nail clippers, scissors and letter openers -- to build a 747, and fondled enough underwire bras to get second jobs as mammographers. But according to Denver police officers stationed at DIA, the most suspicious and potentially dangerous item confiscated to date were some deer antlers. What, did they think a terrorist might rut his way into the cockpit? D'oe!
Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen at 14,110 feet. Maybe it was the stunning view from the top of Colorado's most famous mountain. Whatever it was, something clicked in Katharine Lee Bates's brain on July 22, 1893. As she stood at the summit of Pikes Peak, and as a carriage carried her back to the bottom, she scribbled down the first lines of what would eventually become "America the Beautiful." Although not as well known as the national anthem, of course, the rousing song has made a major comeback since September 11; it's been sung since then at nearly every professional sporting event (in addition to the "Star-Spangled Banner") and other events of all kinds. But the best place to belt out the lyrics -- "O beautiful for spacious skies/For amber waves of grain/For purple mountain majesties/Above the fruited plain!/America! America!/God shed his grace on thee/And crown thy good with brotherhood/From sea to shining sea!" -- is amid the majesty of Pikes Peak itself, on the very spot that inspired those words.