Marine Corps Article Talks of Wilberforce, Amazing Grace

A “Did you know?” article out of Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow retells the fascinating history of John Newton and William Wilberforce — as well as the commonly known hymn “Amazing Grace.”

When you hear the iconic song, Amazing Grace, what do you think of? Church choirs? Funerals? Perhaps bagpipes belting out the haunting tune? Did you know that the author of Amazing Grace was once a slave ship master who saw the light, reformed his ways and became one of the most influential people in history for the abolition of slave trade? His influence, particularly on William Wilberforce, helped to push the British Parliament to abolish slavery in 1807.

The article is somewhat unique in that it appears to have nothing to do with the Marines, or even the US military. Still, it is a fascinating reminder of the impact of these men — and of Christianity — on history as we know it.

Of course, most US troops probably do know of John Newton, though not by name. Amazing Grace, played at many military memorial ceremonies and military funerals, may remain one of the last, if subtle, uncontested vestiges of the Christian faith in the US military.

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see…