Let There Be Peace on Earth

Program 35 • 29 mins


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The song “Let There be Peace on Earth” has become a global anthem for peace, and we’ll meet the author on this episode of Humankind with David Freudberg. The late Jill Jackson Miller, an actress and songwriter who wrote “Let There be Peace on Earth” in the summer of 1955, explains the history and background of the song. Since that time the song and its message have circulated around the globe.

Special note: At the end of this program, we include a performance by the Madrigal Chorus of Belmont High School in Massachusetts. The students also describe what the verses mean to them.

Miller movingly speaks of her early life–how she became an orphan as a young girl, and her difficult journey through foster care, that led her into despair and attempted suicide. She describes that it was then that she realized the presence of a higher power in her life and how she eventually came to write the song. It is a song that has rippled and spread around the world, taking on a life of its own and changing history as people began to live the message and share the song.


  • Have you ever been inspired by a song to seek peace?
  • What life experiences led Jill Jackson Miller to write “Let There be Peace on Earth?”
  • What does it mean to “let peace begin with me” and how can individuals become messengers of peace?

Let There Be Peace on EarthAnd when I attempted suicide and I didn’t succeed, I knew for the first time unconditional love—which God is. God is unconditional love. You are totally loved, totally accepted, just the way you are. In that moment I was not allowed to die, and something happened to me which is very difficult to explain. I had an eternal moment of truth, in which I knew I was loved and knew I was here for a purpose.”

—Jill Jackson Miller, author of “Let There be Peace on Earth,” describing events in her early life that developed her unique philosophy of Peace


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