The United States Marine Band is premiering a new composition to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The piece, titled “These Lights, Which Shine,” was composed by Marine Band Assistant Director Maj. Ryan J. Nowlin.
The video of the premiere, in which Marine Band Director Col. Jason K. Fettig directs the Marine Chamber Orchestra and the Joint Armed Forces Chorus, was released Friday. The tribute was performed in Washington National Cathedral.
Nowlin’s inspiration for his composition, according to a Marine Band news release, was a Yiddish poem called “Yeish Kochavin,” by Hannah Senesh. It means “There are Stars” or “Among the Stars.” Senesh was in the British Army’s special operations during World War II. She was captured by the enemy, tortured and executed in 1944. She was 23.
“Her writings have this beauty which really spoke to me,” Nowlin said.
Based on a translation by Bruce L. Ruben, these are the words sung by the chorus:
There are stars whose light reaches the earth
only after they themselves are no more.
There are people whose radiant memory shines in the world
even after they themselves have left it.
These lights – which shine in the darkest night –
These, these illumine the path for us all.