My wife, Roberta Maran, loves "This Is My Song", Lloyd Stone's lyrics to Sibelius' tune, Finlandia. She mused that it would be wonderful if it was sung during Barack Obama's inauguration as President on January 20. So we decided to try to make that happen - and short of getting the song into the inauguration program, try to get people to sing it after the ceremony. To that end, the lyrics are shown below - in hopes that there will be a grass-roots sing-a-long around the world in homes, schools, and work places after Obama is sworn in. And in houses of worship on the weekends before and after the event!
The original lyrics in Finnish were fiercely nationalistic, reflecting the country's struggle for its own identity during a time of oppression by Russia. Stone transformed an almost xenophobic song into a hymn of international understanding, a beautiful expression of that most exalted kind of patriotism which honors one's own country while honoring the pride of citizens of other lands.
It's hard to exaggerate the significance of January 20, 2009, for the citizens of the other lands celebrated in Lloyd Stone's words. Whether we knew it or not when we cast our votes in November, we were electing the leader of not only our own country, but of the whole human family. What better way to honor the billions of people who had hope, but no choice, in that election than to sing this song together?
Perhaps it is no accident that both Barack Obama and Lloyd Stone lived in Hawaii, that most international, multi-cultural, and pluralistic American state. So let us celebrate our global "ohana" (family) on January 20 - "proclaiming peace together in one song"!
This Is My Song
New Century (UCC) Hymnal #591
words Lloyd Stone, 1934 (verses 1 and 2) - Georgia Harkness (verse 3)
Nice harmonica/video version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_W-zWj0iCA
This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
May truth and freedom come to every nation
May peace abound where strife has raged so long;
That each may seek to love and build together,
A world united, righting every wrong.
A world united in its love for freedom,
Proclaiming peace together in one song.