Today I experienced two examples of dedication that moved my heart and inspired my soul deeply. The timing of these events provided me a chance to ponder the significance and symbolism. First, a dedication of a musical program to honor United States armed forces. Second, the dedication of a Holy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dedication of The Armed Service
This morning the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had the great honor to welcome “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band as special guests for the weekly Music & The Spoken Word program. The program paid tribute to all those who dedicate their lives defending our freedom. Because the band happened to be passing through Utah on their annual tour, the program will be used in the future as a Veterans Day program.
Our program consisted of popular patriotic classics, including “God Bless America”, “This is My Country”, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, “The Armed Forces Medley”, and more. The band gave one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever heard of Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare To The Common Man“. The talent and discipline these servicemen and women displayed was exceptional. The music was uplifting. The poetry and patriotic messages were inspiring.
“With hand upon my heart, I thank the Lord, for this my Native Land.”
– Don Raye, This is My Country
There wasn’t an empty space in the Tabernacle this morning. And yet, despite the huge crowd, there was a special hush; it was a truly reverent silence.
“Every generation has the opportunity to be as great as the one that preceded it. We measure the value of a veteran’s service not by the length or the location of the conflict but by the heart and character of the soldiers. Every time brave soldiers respond to the call of duty, they have the opportunity to leave a legacy of honor for those who follow.”
– Lloyd Newell, Spoken Word “The Heroes We Remember“, Sept. 21, 2014
At the conclusion of the broadcast the audience could contain their emotion no longer. They rose to their feet with applause and shouts of joy. Hearts swelled with gratitude. Eyes welled up with tears and spilled over. We ‘d pledged allegiance to our country, and honored the personal service and sacrifice of all those who have protected and are currently protecting our freedom and liberty.
Dedication of Temple Service
Mr. Mo, Daughter A, my friend Debby and I were honored to be able to attend the re-dedication ceremony of the newly rebuilt Ogden Utah Temple.
We sat with a congregation of Bountiful Latter-day Saints in reverent silence while we watched a special satellite broadcast of the dedication from our local chapel. To accommodate the church members throughout Utah, there were three sessions offered today; 10 am, 1 PM and 4 PM. We attended the second session, where President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency presided. There was beautiful music. There were inspiring words. Hearts swelled with gratitude. Eyes welled up with tears and often overflowed. At the end of the ceremony, we rose to our feet and gave a joyful shout.
We’d pledged allegiance and devotion to our Savior Jesus Christ. We remembered and honored His service and sacrifice for each of us personally, in order to protect our spiritual freedom and safeguard our liberty. Because of Him, the gate is opened and the path is marked toward salvation and eternal life.
President Eyring reminded us that although we are re-dedicating a building today as a House of The Lord, we are most importantly re-dedicating ourselves to keeping our promises (covenants) to God.
“This day is a cause of celebration! It is also a day of greater dedication. . . As much as the temple blessings offer to you, the greatest changes within will happen when you offer the temple blessings to others.” – Pres. Eyring
So, what do a patriotic musical ceremony, and a sacred Temple worship ceremony have in common?
Both stand as symbols of freedom; Guardians of peace, Defenders of liberty. Dedicated to selfless service, Consecrated by Christlike love.
Our fathers’ God to Thee,Author of liberty,To Thee we sing.Long may our land be bright,With freedom’s holy lightProtect us by Thy mightGreat God our King(America, 4th verse – Samuel Francis Smith, 1808-1895)