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“Beautiful Nebraska” – The Nebraska State Song

“Beautiful Nebraska” was created in the 1960s by the late Jim Fras and the late Guy G. Miller, both of Lincoln. Fras composed the music, and the two men wrote the lyrics, according to the sheet music.

Fras, a Russian immigrant and musician, said he got the idea for the song during a drive in the countryside near Lincoln.

He parked his car by a clump of trees near a farmer’s field. While resting on his back in tall grass and looking at the bright, blue sky, a new melody popped into his head. He hurried home, where he sat down at the piano and quickly finished the melody and wrote it down.

Fras and Miller, who were friends, later created the lyrics to the song. One of Miller’s avocations was poetry.

During the 1960s, the Nebraska Legislature debated selection of a state song. Many songs were considered during the selection process, and Fras lobbied hard for “Beautiful Nebraska.”

In 1967, Sens. Richard Marvel, Jerome Warner, Harold Simpson and Eric Rasmussen proposed LB 535, which designated “Beautiful Nebraska” as the state song. The bill was passed on a vote of 31-4, and Gov. Norbert Tiemann signed it into law on June 21, 1967. That was the year Nebraska celebrated the centennial of its statehood.

It was Fras’ idea and dream to have “Beautiful Nebraska” become the state song.

“It’s a one-time inspiration,” Fras said of the song in 1965. “It just came to me.

“I could write another Nebraska song, but it wouldn’t be as good as this one. No one asked or ordered me to write it. I wanted to pay tribute to my adopted state.”

Since its adoption as the state song, “Beautiful Nebraska” has become treasured by Nebraskans. The song is widely regarded in the state as a classic – a simple ballad that anybody can sing.

The song eloquently captures the essence of the state and its people: “Beautiful Nebraska, peaceful prairie land …. You will find a rainbow reaching to the ground.”