America the Beautiful
English Professor Katherine Bates wrote the words to "America the Beautiful" during a trip to Colorado the summer of 1893. She was inspired by the "spacious skies" of the west and the "amber waves" of grain she saw out her train window. But the words came to her in a flash of inspiration atop Pikes Peak, where there's a plaque to commemorate the poem. Bates rushed back to the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs to write the words down.
Church organist Samuel Ward was moved to write the hymn that would later be paired with Bates' poem when he was riding the ferry from Coney Island to New York City. He asked a fellow passenger if he could jot down the notes on the man's shirt cuff, so full of the music was he, so eager to capture the melody before it left his head.
Two artists, two inspired moments — and two frantic and ultimately successful efforts to capture the muse before it flew away. The words and music were published together in 1910 as "America the Beautiful." Since then there have been many attempts to gain national hymn or even national anthem status for this song, none successful. All I can say is, it has my vote.