Music and the Spoken Word: A team of individual citizens

Posted July 4

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast.

Not long ago, an elite high school tennis team competed in the state championship tournament. Even though many members of the team were favored to win their individual matches, six of the seven were defeated in various rounds of tournament play. It seemed that the team would surely lose its first-place rank. But when all the points were added, the team ended up winning the state title! Despite the individual losses, the team — together — earned enough points to win the championship.

The biggest victories in life are won more often by teams than by individuals. Think of the pivotal moments that changed the course of human history. Almost never were they accomplished by someone working alone. That is certainly the story of our nation’s founding. It’s a story of people uniting for a cause greater than themselves, people sacrificing personal glory for the greater good, and people thinking less about their own success and working toward a collective triumph.

Today, as we celebrate the founding of our nation, we remember not just the prominent players of history but also the teams of freedom lovers who laid the foundation of this great nation. Most members of that team did not end up in history books, but the cause of freedom would have been weaker without them.

In a sense, we are all members of that same team today. There remain victories to be won, freedoms to be preserved and strengthened. And as in the past, our team — our nation — must work together to succeed.

A commitment to the general welfare helps us in our individual losses and can bring us together to solve our deepest problems. Considering the common good is the best way to find common ground, even with those who don’t agree with us or who are different from us. We rightly value independence, but it’s good to remember — even on Independence Day — that it was a team of brave men and women who secured life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for each of us. Truly, it’s this unique mix — a diverse team working together — that makes our nation great. We win best when we win together, as a team.


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