Friday, April 18, 2008

Battle Hymn of the Republic

I was listening to the reception that the President threw for the Pope this week. I really don't know why we, the U.S., went with a full state welcome that included the largest reception ever held for a foreign leader the White House has ever seen, for the Pope. We really went all out, 21 gun salute, military music, the whole 9 yards.

Anyway the Army Choir sang one of my favorite songs, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." It was just awesome. What impressed me more is that they did the full "military" version of the song that is more often than not, not sung.

Remember that this song was written during the time of the Civil War. It was a time of religious resurgence, and a time of great fear. It was also a time of great optimism.

The last verse is the verse I am talking about the original lyric are thus:

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

Most often the line "let us die to make men free" is changed to "let us live to make men free." Not nearly as powerful, and, in my opinion, dishonest in what it takes to win and maintain freedom.

Here is an OK version of the Hymn with the original lyrics:

Here is a great, all be it the sissified, rendition:

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