For Those Who Served…
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Most of us cannot even imagine the horror of young Allied troops landing on Omaha and Utah Beaches in Normandy seventy-five years ago. But for any who experienced first-hand D-Day on June 6, 1944, their lives have never been the same. And our country owes each of them a deep debt of gratitude for their sacrifice.
I have been watching television reports this week where veterans (most in their mid-nineties) reflect on that life experience where more than 10,000 Allied casualties occurred in one day. Some are making a pilgrimage to Normandy – others will mark this occasion at reunion gatherings which they all declare may be their last trip ever.
As I thank God for these brave soldiers, I also ask God that we might somehow as a nation be worthy of their sacrifice. Tomorrow is the anniversary. How will you mark it in your heart and in your prayers? Perhaps thinking of one tangible way we could lift up America would be a start.
My Daddy was in the Air Force on that day in 1944, but he was not on Normandy. Still, I pay honor to him (and my father-in-law who was serving in the Philippines then.)
Pratt Secrest, was one of the Greatest Generation who served during both World War II (Air Force pilot) and the Korean War (Information officer/journalist). Can you even imagine training to be a bomber pilot at age eighteen? What responsibility at such a young age… When Daddy turned twenty he wrote down some of his thoughts after a war-torn year which included D-Day, in his poem “Outlook”
- Sometimes I look at life through the span
- Of twenty years without a caravan
- Of thoughts to bring a sweet and low refrain,
- A song to penetrate endless rain.
- In spite of hopes to think of things I love,
- I find that memory honors only tears.
- In vain I lift my eyes to look above
- The strife and death of conflict-shattered years.
- Oh, men of earth! You know that war’s release
- Is only through the God of Lasting Peace!
- – Pratt Secrest, 1944
Even as a young airman, Pratt Secrest chose to use humor to get through tough times… Here is his take on First Aid training during flight school in his poem
- I’ve studied blood and bleeding, and cuts from ear to ear,
- And what to put on punctures when the doctor isn’t here.
- With digital compression I’m supposed to be a whiz,
- But actually, my technique’s wrong, I’m really just a fizz.
- And if the victim has a bone that’s broken, torn, or bent,
- I proudly put a bandage on (resembling a tent).
- The teacher made me volunteer to be a case of rabies,
- (If this continues, soon I’ll be delivering little babies!)
- So give me no more bruises, burns, incisions, lacerations.
- If anybody mentions blood, I’ll change the conversation.
- You keep your dern old First Aid stuff, I only want to fly!
- And if I ever get a wound… so help me, I’ll just die.
- – Pratt Secrest, Flight School 1943 (age 19)
Let’s all take time today and this week to Pray for all those men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. Here is a prayer I use for such times…
“O Prince of Peace, we humbly ask Your protection for all our men and women in military service. Give them unflinching courage to defend with honor, dignity and devotion the rights of all who are imperiled by injustice and evil. Guard our churches, our homes, our schools, our hospitals, our factories, our buildings, and all those within from harm and peril. Protect our land and its people from enemies within and without. Grant an early peace with victory founded upon justice. Instill in the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere a firm purpose to live forever in peace and good will towards all. Amen.”
under the mercy, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
My newest book “Life-Giving Choices ~ 60 Days to What Matters Most” is a devotional journal which can help any woman make the most important choices every day. Coming out this Fall from the good folks at New Hope Publishers, it is available now for pre-order HERE.
©2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.EncouragingWords.net
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