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“American Idol” made Phil Stacey one of the country’s most famous sailors when he sang as a finalist in Season 6.

On his upcoming album, Stacey pays tribute to those who are serving in war zones with much less fanfare.

The ballad “Old Glory” is among the most moving tracks on Stacey’s “Into the Light,” which is due out Aug. 25.

The idea for the song came to Stacey just after his band played for a ceremony honoring a command returning to Naval Station Mayport, Fla., from deployment.

While walking along the shore afterward, he said, “I looked up and saw a frigate going by with a flag waving … that song was written in about 15 minutes.”

The song focuses on what Americans agree about — basic freedoms and liberty — rather than what separates them.

The song aims to comfort those who are deployed and the families who wait for their return. Stacey hopes that “it gives them strength and lets them know that their sacrifice isn’t in vain.”

Stacey has already performed it several times, including for the chief of naval operations. “I’ve had a lot of positive response from this song,” he said.

Stacey joined the Navy in 2003. He had wanted to enlist immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“I was one of those guys who wanted to leave school and join the military, but my wife stopped me,” said Stacey, whose father served in the Air Force in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

However, after he graduated from college and served briefly as a music minister in Colorado, he and his wife decided the time was right to enlist.

While on active duty, Stacey served as a musician third class.

“It was incredible. I was in a Navy rock band out of Jacksonville, Fla.,” he said. “We put on rock shows for high schools and I sang at Atlanta Braves games.”

Stacey is still a reservist, serving as a mass communications specialist — and still doing concerts.

“They have me involved with the local band,” said Stacey, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn. “… They had me go to Naples, Italy, where I did some concerts.”

Aside from “Old Glory,” Stacey’s upcoming album is filled with pop songs expressing his faith. For example, the title track urges people to step into God’s light to find his comfort.

“Most of the songs are my personal little sermonettes,” he said. “… It deals with the good times, with the bad times, with doubts…. It’s about encouragement.”

Stacey said he’s thankful for his experience on America’s favorite musical talent show.

“‘American Idol’ was kind of my catapult. It gave me the platform to put this music out,” he said.

It’s something he kept in mind during the wild ride.

“I was constantly bombarded with, ‘This isn’t about you. It’s about what’s being done through you … You couldn’t do this on your own strength.’ ”

And if he ever forgot that, his family — which includes an abundance of preachers — was always there to remind him.

“We’ve got a great, rich heritage of a people of faith. … When we see something happening that wouldn’t normally be happening, it has the fingerprints of God all over it,” Stacey said.

You can hear “Old Glory” at

Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.

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