The Young Citizens League was a popular organization years ago which taught school students about how governments operate. Neighbors has carried several memories about it that you folks have sent in.

Now, Howard Langemo, Valley City, N.D., writes about a YCL song, although he says it might be termed a hymn. He remembers all of it except for a line in the first verse and the last two lines:

Oh up from every valley

And down from every crest

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

We come, thy loyal children

(Forgotten line)

To pledge our firm allegiance

America to thee

The guardians of tomorrow

By mountain, plain and sea

We march and we sing

Our voices ring

Young citizens are we

Leagued in a host whose watch words are

Youth, courage, loyalty

Hailing our nation’s banner

Afloat in the sun-lit sky

(Two forgotten lines)

Howard can be forgiven for not recalling all the lines of this song. After all, he was 92 when he emailed Neighbors late last year, and it’s been 80 years since he was in YCL.

“I went to a one-room country school, Norma No. 1, in Norma Township, Barnes County (N.D.),” Howard writes. “The year I was in first grade, there were 26 kids in our school, and there were two other one-room schools in Norma Township! The other two may have had fewer kids than we.

“Since I was the youngest of 14, I had three sisters in Norma No.1 the year I was in first grade.”

ARCHIVE: Read more of Bob Lind's Neighbors columns

The song’s composer

Going back to the YCL song (or hymn, if you wish), Howard says it had a “nice melody.”

Both its words and music, he says, were composed by Josephine Rhoades, who was the wife of L.D. Rhoades, for which the Valley City State University (VCSU) science building is named.

Josephine also composed the words and music for the VCSU fight song and the VCSU alma mater song.

Neighbors thanks Howard for contacting Neighbors about this song. And if someone out there can fill in the missing lines, Howard no doubt would appreciate it.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email