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Steve Lunetta: The music of our heritage

Posted: November 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.

“O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.”

Last Thursday, I had the immense privilege of attending The Master’s College Wind Ensemble Concert held in the Recital Hall on The Master’s campus.

Dr. Stephen Opfer directed a magnificent concert of patriotic music that lifted the soul.

The musical selections included Morton Gould’s “American Salute” from 1943, Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” (1942), and Claude Smith’s “Variations on a Revolutionary Hymn” from 1987. The hymn was “How Firm a Foundation” from 1787.

Yep, those ancient 1700s hymns still get played today. And they still sound as good and as relevant as they did when first written.

There was a little ditty that I really enjoyed. The words of the tune were flashed up on the screen as the kids were playing. It described the freemen who stand between their homes and the ravages of war.

I saw images of the United States Navy. Powerful and majestic battleships from World War II, gigantic floating cities known as aircraft carriers, and the many young men who dress in white and stand on their decks.

I am reminded of their sacrifices when pictures of Pearl Harbor were shown, battleship row aflame and the young men dressed in white stained in red.

Thank you, veterans and current servicemen. Thank you also to your families.

“Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!”


Like it or not, we are a blessed nation. We recently completed a presidential election. We did so without carnage in the streets, rioting and general mayhem. This is a massive blessing.

We crush our enemies and maintain the most powerful military on Earth. This assures peace for our nation and many other countries. Another blessing.

Our blessings take the form of physical wealth but also spiritual. We are not a purely apostate nation where God is ignored or reviled. Most of us still believe in God and trust in his providence and sovereignty.

Because, as the ditty correctly notes, this Power (God) is the One who made our nation and preserves us. Like it or not.

“Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’”


Sometimes, we are compelled to war, often facing a foe who seeks our utter destruction. Whether a hedgerow in Normandy, an atoll in the Pacific, or a little round hill in Pennsylvania, we will face our enemy and destroy him. For we must.

Many dislike the motto “In God we trust.” What would you rather have? “In Nancy Pelosi we trust?” How about “In Stephen Hawking we trust”? Or maybe “In Barack Obama we trust”?

No, thank you.

For all of you who put your trust in man, I am sad. Man will always fail and disappoint. God will not. He is God. And we are not. He is ultimately worthy of our trust.


“And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

— verse 4, “Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key


You guessed it. The little ditty is really the “Star-Spangled Banner.” That tired, worn-out, useless poem that was set to militaristic music and forced upon us. Thank God.

The Banner is a reminder of who we are and what has been sacrificed to give us what we have today. The men at Fort McHenry were pummeled all night by the British Navy but, in the morning, raised a huge flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. They did not give up.

Cheeky buggers.

It is this spirit that should inspire and raise us up. As we look over the wreckage caused by this last election, it is time to put it aside and move forward. We will not give up. We will continue to fight for our nation and its future.

For we truly are the land of the free and the home of the brave. And always will be. Thank you, Master’s wind ensemble, for reminding me of that.

Steve Lunetta is a neighbor of The Master’s College and is becoming a big fan of its music program. He can be reached at


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