Updated: Dec 28, 2022
(Song: "Do You Hear What I Hear?")
Do you hear what I hear???
French-born Noël Regney heard the constant nerve-shattering sounds of battle during World War II when Hitler’s troops forced the drafting of multitudes of Frenchmen into the German army. The “tat-tat-tat,” of the infantry sent shrapnel whizzing past his ears, screeching and screaming until stabbing into flesh. He heard the racking rows of enemy shellfire, booming canons, the click-click-click of warplanes shooting overhead, and the painful screams of agony.
Noël moved to New York City in 1952, but never forgot the terrifying ravages of war.
On October 1962, at the forefront of every American's mind, was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Would a nuclear missile strike our homeland and erase humankind as we knew it?
Citizens envisioned two world leaders, President John F. Kennedy, and the Premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, with their fingers resting uneasily on the activators of nuclear bombs. Americans lived in terror, awakening to newspaper headlines such as, ‘Russia Says Blockade A Step To Nuclear War,’ and, ‘Will They Or Won’t They?’ Days filled with escalating fear. Terror. Fear. Terror. Nonstop for the 13-day confrontation.
Strolling down a Manhattan sidewalk one evening when the fear of nuclear death hung in the air like a solemn fog, Noël glanced at two mothers pushing baby strollers. He saw the babies break into big, angelic smiles. They reminded him of two little lambs.
Noël, an established composer, pens the first stanza in his mind about the night wind speaking to a little lamb. He arrived home and asked his wife, Gloria Shayne Regney, an accomplished pianist and composer, to arrange the accompanying music. They could not sing the entire song without tears, for the lyrics held a two-fold meaning. One is a Christmas Carol about the winds sending the message of an atomic bomb ringing through the sky from Cuba across the sea to America. The tail of a star versus the mushroom-like tail of the detonation point of a nuclear explosion. A chilled savior, versus children left to shiver in the street. The stanza regarding the King, God Almighty, reminds us to pray for peace; whereas the alternate meaning is a peaceful reconciliation between the human kings of two nations.
Noël Regney never wanted us to forget this prayer for peace and the ultimate message:
HE will bring each of us goodness and light!!!