Music and the Spoken Word

In Tribute to Our Veterans - Sunday, November 12, 2017



On Veterans Day, we give thanks to everyone who has ever donned a uniform of the United States military. This national holiday dates to the close of the First World War and now honors generations of veterans who have fought in many battles in many lands. No matter the conflict, our military men and women of different backgrounds, races, and creeds have long represented the American character at its best: selflessness, honesty, commitment, grit, resilience, and patriotism.

There are so many inspiring stories that could be told of these valiant veterans. One story that captures their spirit of sacrifice comes from John Whitehead. In 1941, John was a student working in the library at Haverford College when he heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He knew immediately that his “life would never be the same.”

John became a Navy supply officer and was assigned to command five landing craft during the invasion of the Normandy beaches on D-Day—a pivotal moment of the war. John and his infantrymen, whom he called “the real heroes,” made two trips across the channel from Portsmouth, England, and after the second he noted, “What had looked like such a disaster only a few hours earlier was beginning to look like it had a chance.”

As the men scrambled ashore, John paused and “took a few deep breaths and felt suddenly elated, proud to be having a tiny part in what was maybe the biggest battle of all history.” Yes, he was “soaked to the skin, seasick, dead tired, cold, [and] still scared,” but as he would later declare, “I would not have wanted to be anywhere else.”

What was it that made John Whitehead feel elated in such miserable, exhausting, dangerous conditions? It was the cause for which he was fighting. To honor the sacrifices of people like John, we build memorials, hold parades, and give awards. But such things cannot fully do justice to their service or repay our debt. Maybe the best way to honor our veterans is to stay true to the cause that inspired them—the cause of justice, truth, and freedom.

In Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation Speaks: Letters and Reflections (1999), 14.
In Brokaw, The Greatest Generation Speaks, 19.
In Brokaw, The Greatest Generation Speaks, 20.
In Brokaw, The Greatest Generation Speaks, 20.

November 12, 2017
Broadcast Number 4,600

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Valiant Veterans

Conductor
Mack Wilberg

Organist
Andrew Unsworth

Host
Lloyd Newell


America, the Dream Goes On
John Williams

Our God Is Marching On
Medley arranged by Michael Davis

Semper Fidelis March
John Philip Sousa; transcribed by Andrew Unsworth

This Is My Country
Al Jacobs; arr. Michael Davis

Because of the Brave
Lowell Alexander and Steve Amerson; arr. Bob Krogstad

Battle Hymn of the Republic
William Steffe; arr. Peter J. Wilhousky