Music and the Spoken Word

A Symbol of Freedom - Veterans Day Special - November 8, 2015

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. That moment in 1918 marked the end of World War I and the beginning of an annual tradition of remembrance. For the next several years, November 11 was known as Armistice Day, a day of gratitude for peace and for those who sacrificed so much to secure it in that “war to end all wars.” Of course, wars did not end, and more and more Americans were called into the service of their country. So, in the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, November 11 was renamed Veterans Day in honor of all military veterans—today numbering 25 million and counting—who gave so much for the cause of freedom.

Nothing symbolizes that cause quite like the American flag, and veterans and soldiers seem to have a special sense of the patriotism, pride, and hope embodied in that beloved banner. It’s not surprising, then, that when a major in the Bosnian war in 1996 wanted to send his son a gift for his birthday, he wrote home:

“There aren’t any stores here in Bosnia, so I couldn’t buy you any toys or souvenirs for your birthday. What I am sending you is something very special though. It is a flag. This flag represents America and makes me proud each time I see it. When the people here in Bosnia see it on our uniforms, on our vehicles, or flying above our camps, they know that it represents freedom, and, for them, peace after many years of war.”

“This flag,” he explained, “was flown on the flagpole over … Camp Colt, in … northern Bosnia-Herzegovina, on September 16, 1996, … in honor of you on your seventh birthday. Keep it and honor it always. Love, Dad.”1

In our own observances of Veterans Day, the American flag reminds us of the brave men and women who carried that flag in conflicts around the world, of the peace and freedom they won for us at great personal cost, and of the unquestioned resilience, compassion, and courage of the military veterans of the United States of America.

1. Tom O’Sullivan, in War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, ed. Andrew Carroll (2001), 28–29.

Nov. 8, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,495

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Bells on Temple Square

A Symbol of Freedom

Mack Wilberg

Bells Conductor
LeAnna Willmore

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

This Land Is Your Land
Woody Guthrie; arr. Percy Faith; adapted by Michael Davis

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

Hymn for America
Stephen Paulus

America the Beautiful
Samuel A. Ward; arr. Andrew Unsworth

March, from An American Tapestry
Arnold B. Sherman

The Pledge of Allegiance
Charles Osgood; arr. Michael Davis

Flag of the Free
Medley arranged by Michael Davis

My Country, 'Tis of Thee
Traditional hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg