Music and the Spoken Word

First in the Hearts of His Countrymen - Sunday, February 17, 2019



Heidi S. Swinton

According to popular legend, an officer in the Revolutionary War once directed his men to fell some trees and construct a much-needed bridge. As the soldiers struggled mightily with the task, an imposing-looking man rode up and, observing their work, said to the officer, “You don’t have enough men for the job, do you?”
“No,” the officer replied. “We need some help.”
The man, looking down from his saddle, asked, “Why don’t you help your men?”
“Me?” the officer responded in a huff. “Why, I am a corporal!”
The man got down from his horse and worked with the soldiers until the bridge was completed. Then, mounting his horse, he said to the officer, “Corporal, the next time you have a job to put through and too few men to do it you had better send for the Commander-in-Chief, and I will come again.”
The man, so the legend goes, was General George Washington.1
This remarkable leader left a singular imprint on our nation. His picture is on postage stamps, coins, and dollar bills. His name is on cities, roads, lakes, mountains, and schools all over the country. And a 555-foot monument in his honor stands majestically at the center of the nation’s capital, which also happens to bear the name Washington.
But more important than all of this is the imprint he left on the lives of the people who knew him—and, indirectly, on every American ever since. He was deeply respected for his unique combination of ability and humility. And in turn, he showed deep respect for others—especially those who stood by his side and fought for freedom in perilous conditions. The idea that General Washington would stop to help men build a bridge is perfectly believable because that’s the kind of person he was. The poetic words written for his eulogy in 1799 are just as true today as they were then: he was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”2

1 See William J. Bennett, ed., The Moral Compass: Stories for a Life’s Journey (1995), 657.
2 Henry Lee, “Funeral Oration on the Death of General Washington,” 14; see nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/georgewashington/education/materials/Transcript-Funeral.pdf.
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February 17, 2019
Broadcast Number 4,666

The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Builder of Bridges

Conductor
Mack Wilberg

Organists
Brian Mathias
Andrew Unsworth

Host
Lloyd Newell


America the Beautiful
Samuel A. Ward; arr. Mack Wilberg

The House I Live In
Earl Robinson; arr. Michael Davis

National Emblem March
Edwin E. Bagley; arr. Robert Cundick

America, the Dream Goes On
John Williams

O God, Our Help in Ages Past
William Croft; arr. Mack Wilberg

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