THIS CHRISTMAS, LET BELLS OF FREEDOM RING
Words and Music: Wanda West Palmer
STORY AND TESTIMONY
(Copyright Wanda West Palmer Publishing 2011-2014)
Two weeks following the devastating day of September 11, 2001 when we watched the twin towers in New York destroyed, I received a telephone call from Anita Freeman who asked if I could write a special song commemorating that dreadful day. She wanted the song to be sung at the opening ceremony of the Arizona Temple Christmas Lights Celebration and wondered if I could do it in time. I quickly accepted the challenge and wondered, “How in the world can I write a patriotic Christmas song?”
I gleaned a few choice words from the speech that George Bush, the President of our United States of America gave, following September 11, calling for a ‘Day of Prayer’ that united our Nation with his prayer, “God Bless America.” I also read talks given by President Gordon B. Hinckley and President James E. Faust, Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. Their comforting messages during the ‘Day of Prayer’ inspired most of the words I used for “This Christmas, Let Bells of Freedom Ring.”
We drove to Utah to attend the October 2001 Conference, and we stayed with our son Darin and his wife Bren in Ogden, Utah. I went to October Conference specifically to get Darin’s help with the song. I had the words and the basic melody at that time, but had not even tried to put an accompaniment to the song. I could hear what I wanted, but found that I could not write the huge chords that imitated ringing bells.
Heather Cole (Lynette and Mike Cole’s daughter) was going to BYU as a music major, and after conference Heather came to Darin’s to visit and brought a friend with her. I sat down at Darin’s piano and sang the song and explained my dilemma with the accompaniment and the deadline I was facing. Heather’s friend, who was a young musician from Denmark sat at the piano and played a simple accompaniment that sounded so natural, just like it was meant to be. He quickly established the nucleus of the accompaniment and saved us hours of time by putting that simple accompaniment into Darin’s computer, who forwarded it to our son Kevin’s computer in Mesa.
After we came home, I asked our grandson Nathan West Palmer (Rick and Elane’s son) if he would learn to use Kevin’s Music program and help write an accompaniment. He happily agreed. Nathan was able to put the bells into the accompaniment that I heard, and in some of his chords I think he used every finger of both hands! When it was finished, the song was beautiful, even without words.
In November, at a special Mesa First Ward Program “This Christmas, Let Bells of Freedom Ring” was introduced by Janet Ray, Phyllis Heywood and myself, accompanied by Nathan. We received a stand received a standing ovation! It was a very special and heart warming experience that I will never forget.
THIS CHRISTMAS, LET BELLS OF FREEDOM RING
This Christmas, let bells of freedom ring, This Christmas, let’s raise our voice and sing. This Christmas, may angels sing again, “Peace on earth, good will to men, Peace, good will to men.”
This Christmas, may free men everywhere Humbly unite in solemn prayer.
This Christmas, pray we’ll always be The home of the brave, land of the free.
This Christmas, bless our native land.
This Christmas, may we united stand.
One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.
We stand for freedom, and we will never, we will never, we will never fall.
This Christmas, heal our wounded hearts.
This Christmas, thy tender love impart.
This Christmas, bless us with thy peace (thy peace), Strengthen us and guide us, that faith will never cease.
This Christmas, let bells of freedom ring,
This Christmas, let’s raise our voice and sing
For freedom and for our liberty.
This Christmas bells of freedom ring, bells of freedom ring.
This Christmas, (Peace on earth), This Christmas, (Freedom ring.) This Christmas, (Peace on earth), This Christmas. (Freedom). This Christmas, and through the year we pray,
“God bless America, bless the U.S.A.”
This Christmas, This Christmas, This Christmas, This Christmas. This Christmas, and through the year we pray,
“God bless America, God bless the U.S.A.!”
God bless America, God bless the U.S.A.!”
We, Wanda and Melvin Palmer, would like to express our thanks and appreciation to all the following for their inspiration, help and assistance in the preparation and production of “This Christmas, Let Bells of Freedom Ring.” We could not have done it without you! Thank You!
Dave and Kris Kipp, Heather Cole, Daniel Bloomberg ,Nathan West Palmer, Anita Freeman Brent Jorgenson, Mildred West Packard, The Arizona Mormon Choir, Cory Evans, Whitney Helmbold, Dr. Robert C. Bowden, Jim Wyler, Lanny Owens, Rodney Palmer, Bruce Cox, Mike Coleman, Rusty Bowers, and….
Our Family: Denny & Christi Palmer, Larkin & Susan Palmer, Rick & Elane Palmer, Kevin & Vickie Palmer, Lynette & Mike Cole, Brenda & Scott Hon, Darin & Bren Palmer, and LaDawn (deceased who was always there) and all our amazing grandkids!