"Oh let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time. America, you're calling us, still our home sweet home. And if we let this crisis change us, you know that it would make me more than sad, America's been everything I've ever had."
These are lyrics from a new adaptation of a song, titled "America," written and performed by retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In an interview with ABC News on Thursday, Dempsey said that military bands exist to inspire and encourage Americans, as well as remind them "who we are in the toughest times."
"We began to wonder if there was a way we could send a similar message to our fellow citizens who themselves are going through the very tough times related to COVID-19," he said.
Though Downrange has a long history of working with Dempsey, it's the first time the group has put together a song virtually with vocalists and musicians recording their performances at home, according to the Army.
The lyrics, written by Dempsey, are set to the Scottish folk song "Caledonia" by Dougie MacLean with a new musical arrangement by Army Master Sgt. Dan Roberts.
The video project also allowed Dempsey and Downrange to utilize the "Brady Bunch" box style now popularized through the use of video conferencing apps that millions of Americans use to connect online personally and professionally.
"When the Hollywood Squares come up, just ignore the distinguished looking gentleman in the top center," Dempsey said, referring to the box in the music video where he is featured. "He's someone who discovered late in life that what he really wanted to do when he grew up was to become a member of the Army chorus."
Downrange typically provides free performances to the public but has been unable to do so during the pandemic. The virtual collaboration helped the musicians to keep up their technical skills, while creating new content, an Army spokesperson told ABC News.
The spokesperson said that the song speaks to "the current fears and challenges we face in this current pandemic" and "emphasizes our resilience as a nation and acknowledges the selfless service of those who serve to help during this historic time."
"Army strong, America strong," Dempsey said.
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