Tue upcoming publication that MercyMe planned to release on June 22nd is "I Can Only Imagine" by J Countryman publishers, which includes compelling stores from many who have been touched and affected by the hit-single so valuably written.
The gift book will include a letter the band received from Lt. Col. Joseph Piek, who is currently stationed in Mosul, Iraq with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army’s first Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
This addition was made at the last moments when the book was to be shipped for publication in the press. Extra measures were being taken in order to include this letter, giving the publication a memory of historical events takingp place and a chronological perspective.
In an excerpt from the letter, Lt. Col. Pieks’ words continue to remind us all of the amazing role music can play in people’s lives:
“A few nights ago, we lost our first soldier to hostile fire – an improvised explosive device, or IED as they’ve become known. A friend of the soldier who died sought me out right after the incident. We talked and prayed, and comforted each other. When I finally got to my bunk that night, I played “I Can Only Imagine” until the batteries ran out in my CD player....”
Hundreds of copies of the single have been sent over to Iraq, of which Lt. Col. Piek has been distributing to soldiers for comfort. As Piek also comments in his letter, “The boxes of CDs that you sent to us in Mosul arrived about two weeks ago, and we’ve begun distributing these to our soldiers. In distributing them, it has given me an opportunity to tell my story of how MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine” touched me. The CDs have brightened many soldiers’ spirits.”
MercyMe also serves its part in serving the military with music, performing recently at the Tribute To Heroes Event at Ft. Hood, acknowledging over 50,000 soldiers, some still on duty in Iraq. MercyMe signed autographs in an unifying gesture between the band and national troops.
“Our experience at Ft. Hood was incredibly humbling,” commented MercyMe’s lead singer Bart Millard. “It was awesome to perform in front of a crowd of heroes who have been through so much more than what any of us can begin to fathom. Afterwards we were able to meet many of the soldiers and their families, which to us was an honor, but when they would tell us how our music had helped them cope with all the death and loss around them, and to that effect even calling us heroes, well, that was too much to take. We were like, ‘we’re in a band, man, we’re no heroes, you guys are the heroes!’”