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Bless This Land

Jun 29, 2011

As a sort of happy birthday present in honor of the US Independence Day coming up next week, today I’m posting a new song titled “Bless This Land.”

The music was composed by Michael Moody, former chairman of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ music committee, and current president of the Papeete Tahiti Temple. (How does one sign up for that assignment?!? 😉 )

Though he is worlds above me in ability and education and experience, for years Michael has encouraged me in songwriting, and it’s mostly due to his influence that I began offering my music publicly.

He’s an amazing musician and a great man and I appreciate his kindness in composing the beautiful setting for these lyrics.

The vocalist on the demo recording is Annabelle Smith, a beautiful young wife, mother and talented lady who lives here in Colorado Springs. She performed beautifully as a narrator in our recent Easter program, and was kind enough to lend her lovely voice to this new song.


The lyrics…. As I watched the highly-publicized reaction of a small subset of my fellow Americans to the death of the terrorist Osama Bin Laden, I really had to wonder about the US press. Why choose to present a picture to the world of a tiny, attention-seeking minority that so poorly represented the way most of us feel?

I live in Colorado. I saw no one celebrating in the streets here. We heard the news, looked at each other and said… “Wow.” The mood was somber, resigned, perhaps a little melancholy at the necessity of such actions… anything but celebratory. There were no TV crews here.

I believe that our Heavenly Father loves every nation, every people, and every individual. Acts of war are sometimes necessary to defend our freedom, our peace and our families, but they are never a cause for celebration. It’s not a popular opinion, but I dislike Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films. In spite of their beautiful scenery and epic scope, they ruined my favorite character from the books, and being the loyal little soul that I am, I cannot forgive them. It was Faramir who said this:

War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend…

I guess Faramir was just too noble and upright and good to be portrayed properly. I know many “Faramirs” today… men and women in uniform who love the country they serve enough to die for it, but do not love war or violence. My son-in-law is one of them. They will be the ones celebrating in the streets when the time comes that “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” On that occasion I’ll happily join them.

I love my country as I hope you love yours. In writing the lyrics to “Bless This Land,” it occurred to me that certainly if we can “learn war,” we can “learn peace.” And so, the prayer to God, our Father, to “teach us peace.”

Happy birthday America. Barbecue in the backyard, eat watermelon, watch fireworks, and teach your kids peace.

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