Hymn to Freedom

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Driving home from work a couple months ago, I was listening to WORT, the local, hippie radio station. I don’t listen often, but this particular day it was meant to be. There was a jazz program on and suddenly I heard something amazing…


I did a little research later that night and found out that the Oscar Peterson tune had lyrics, which you can see Peterson singing as he plays.

When every heart joins every heart and together yearns for liberty,
That’s when we’ll be free.
When every hand joins every hand and together moulds our destiny,
That’s when we’ll be free.
Any hour any day, the time soon will come when men will live in dignity,
That’s when we’ll be free.
When every man joins in our song and together singing harmony,
That’s when we’ll be free.

The commute home is often filled with bad news about terrorism, economies, poverty or politics. The tune was shockingly and beautiful different. It is no surprise to me the lyrics have such profound meaning–in historical context and even today.

I can be completely cynical and hopeless, especially these days when so much of what happens around us and to us is simply senseless. But, there is hope for freedom–from the oppressors we and our neighbors and our brothers and sisters around the world face. True freedom for all may be a long way off, but it’s closer every day–I believe it, even though it is hard sometimes.

Thank you for this inspired song, Oscar.