Sweet America

I was nine years old that day
the drums were angry,
warning all 'us boys
to stay away.  
But we left our cows,
and ran back to the village just in time
to hear Mama's screams
and watch our daddies die.

Silent tears streamed down my face,
as we, in horror,
watched our homes and futures burn away,
on that day my mom and sisters had to go
while we remained,
just we ten lost boys, alive to tend the herd.  

Then for weeks we ran from hell
with dreams of freedom to the camp where life
and death flowed free.  
But ten thousand empty faces watched
as ninety names were read,
and to second birth we lucky few were born.

Sweet America, the precious gift
of freedom's in your hand.
Stay awake,
for there's a shadow that
would steal it from your land.  
To be strong, you must be good,
and to be good, you must be free;
sweet America, God shed his grace on thee.

This song was inspired by my reading of Lost Boy No More,
written by DiAnn Mills with Abraham Nhial.
The book tells Abraham's story of how his Dinka tribe in southern Sudan
was eradicated by Muslim soldiers from the north in the late 1990's (and how the horror is still ongoing today).
The genocide of his people and subsequent trek of 35,000 of these 6-14 year old “Lost Boys”
to refugee camps in Ethiopia, a four month journey through hell for many of them, gripped my heart.
With the black cloud of ISIS spreading across the world,
it seems to me that this song is even more apropos today than when I wrote it.
Our nation has the ability to bless our world, but only if it is alert and healthy enough to do so.