DEAR HEARTS AND GENTLE PEOPLE
By February 1968, the U.S. death toll in Vietnam had risen to more than 500 per week. Riots
were happening in cities all across America. I was 15 years old when my older brothers enlisted in the Navy and Air
Force. Most young men who were sent to Vietnam never expected to return home. While cities were blowing up and
young kids were being killed in Vietnam, I played rock and roll music on the weekends in a band I started called "Soul
Sensations". I went to church on Sunday morning and on Monday I sang "I Love Those Dear Hearts And Gentle
People Who Live In My Hometown" in my 3rd period music class.
Singing that song made me feel safe and I believed everything would be ok. I prayed the war would be over before I became
old enough to be drafted. I also prayed for all the men who were fighting in Vietnam. Many of the young men drafted
came from small farming communities across America. 58,202 men were killed in Vietnam. 47,856 were white, 10,346 were
black and 3,070 were Hispanic.
1968 was a pivotal year for America. Some say it was the year the American people lost hope and faith in themselves
and in one another. Neighbors stopped talking with one another. They left their front porches and went inside
their homes and never returned to the front porch. Even now you can drive through neighborhoods in the evenings and
no one is outside. But I have hope we can regain our faith and confidence in ourselves and in one another. So,
I keep singing. When I was 17 and selling Bibles door to door in Mr Airy, North Carolina, I kept singing. As silly
as it sounds I felt more confident each day when I sang the song "I Love Those Dear Hearts And Gentle People".
I worked 12 hours a day and was the top salesman for Thomas Nelson Publishers. We must all keep singing and believing
in one another no matter how many times we screw up. We are just people. All of us are flawed but each of us have
goodness in us. The "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" song brings out the goodness in me. I believe it
can help you too. So, start singing and feel better about yourself and others. Click the graphic below and listen
to Bob Crosby sing "I Love Those Dear Hearts And Gentle People".