Neighbors: We asked, you delivered missing lyrics to an old organization song

Bob Lind
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist. The Forum

Howard Langemo, Valley City, N.D., asked Neighbors’ readers a while ago if they could fill in some lines he’d forgotten from the old Young Citizens League song.

Several of you promptly came through: a Grand Forks woman who prefers to remain anonymous, but who said she hoped that sending the complete lyrics would help Howard out; Paula Thomas, Fargo, who wrote, “I, too, remember this song from grade school”; Jim Engelhardt, West Fargo, who said he found the song’s lyrics in a paper written by someone named Phillip Brown; a Fargo woman who, too, doesn’t want her name mentioned; and Ruthie Horob, Fargo.

Here, then, for the benefit of you former YCLers, are the full lyrics to what is officially titled the “Young Citizens League March Song,” and which should still be meaningful today:

O up from every valley


And down from every crest,

We come, thy loyal children,

By all thy favors blest,

To pledge our firm allegiance,

America, to thee --

Thy 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 watchwords are

Youth, courage, loyalty.

Hailing our nation’s banner,

Afloat in the sun-lit sky,

Which through hopes and fears, through future years,


We will hold evermore on high.


In all the winds of heaven

There breathes a patriot’s creed --

Clean hearts and minds and bodies

Serve best our country’s need --

That creed we hold, America,


Enshrined in heart and soul;

A deeper sense of duty

And better lives our goal.

The unnamed Grand Forks woman said she found the lyrics for this song were written by Joseph Mills Hanson, while the music was composed by Richard E. Broughton. She says the song apparently was written in connection with a contest held in South Dakota.

Becky Salberg, Gwinner, N.D., said two men gave gold worth $50 to whoever would write a YCL march song. They were Guy Harvey, Yankton, S.D., and W.R. Larson, Sioux Falls, S.D. Becky says the song was copyrighted in 1929.

Ruthie Horob, who said she was in YCL when she was in grade school, sent along information about the organization. It was, according to a pamphlet, “an organization among school children for the purpose of training them in habits of good citizenship.”

As to the song, Ruthie thinks it was sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” but she’s not sure.


“If my mom were alive,” she says, “I’ll bet she could sing the whole song.”

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Greg Vanney, Valley City, found an online link which has a performance of the YCL song:

Going back to Becky Salberg, she writes that she grew up in Kathryn, N.D. “I remember our YCL meetings on Friday afternoons,” she says. “This was one of the many places we learned about parliamentary procedure.

“I also remember the fun day in the spring when we met all the other Barnes County schools at the Armory in Valley City for the annual YCL convention. It was a packed house!

“Lots of great memories,” Becky says.

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

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