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Acclaimed Nashville songwriter writes song about Lexington WWII veteran

Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 04:37:01-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Through Operation Song, a Nashville singer-songwriter has written a song for Lexington World War II veteran Paul Frederick.

Songwriter Jim Collins has written many country hits like "Big Green Tractor" and "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."

Before writing a song with Frederick, who now lives at Sayre Christian Village, he had to do his research. He listened to an audio recording of Frederick talking about his wartime experiences and spent 90 minutes with him on the phone.

"To be able to sit and talk to someone like that, what a gift," Collins said.

Songwriter Jim Collins on Lexington WWII vet

During this time Frederick told him about his time in Iwo Jima. He shared one moment of celebration and one of despair:

Iwo Jima flag raising
Lexington WWII vet talks Iwo Jima

He also talked about his wife, Myrtle. She was the love of his life. He remembers exactly how long they were married before she died: 71 years, three months and 10 days.

Collins said Frederick's story was so captivating, it didn't take long to write it. It's called "Guardian Angels". You can listen to it in full below. The song starts at 1:47. Before that, you can hear an audio recording of Frederick talking about the time a torpedo hit the ship he was on.

'Guardian Angel' song

While the song is complete, Frederick said his guardian angel isn't done yet.

"My guardian angel has got one more trip: to carry me to the promised land," Frederick said. "To carry me to the pearly gates and I hope I've lived a life that I'm entitled to that."

Collins has written songs with two other veterans as well. He said he hopes the process has helped them heal.

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"I think it's an opportunity for them to talk about things that they don't usually talk about," Collins said. "None of us have an agenda at all. We're just there to listen and then put it to music."

For Collins, Operation Song has been an honor to be part of.

"I get to sit and talk to these amazing people who sacrificed," he said. "They put it all on the line for us, so for me, it's a blessing."

If you or someone who know is a veteran or songwriter who wants to take part in Operation Song, visit their site here.

If you want to support this program, you can donate here.