As parades process up and down streets in cities nationwide, families remember lost and loved ones in service and fireworks light up the skies, I remember my Grandpa Bob, who served as a Sergeant in the United States Army’s 9th Infantry during World War II. He was married to my grandmother in the 1940s, several days before being deployed to serve abroad and spent several years fighting such battles as the Battle of the Bulge under General George S. Patton.
When he returned home at the end of the war alive and well, he insisted his wholeness and health was due in large part to the pocket-sized Bible he carried in his pocket for the entire time of his service, with a photograph of his wife, my Mama Jo, on the inside, right next to a hand-written copy of Psalm 91 she transcribed for him as he went into battle:
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
This story gives a whole new meaning to the saying “Love conquers all,” and I have never been prouder to carry a name that has such deep roots in the heritages of love and Scripture.
I lost my Grandpa in January of this year, but know God takes care of his servants and that he is smiling down on me. As he said in his passing, “Miss me for a little while – then go on rejoicing among the living.” And I plan on doing just that – while keeping his memory and legacy alive until I meet him again at the pearly gates! In the meantime, I’ll remain steadfast in prayer for American soldiers, just like my Grandpa Bob, deployed and in active duty everywhere.