Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Calling all WWII vets!

The fact is that they are some of the most heroic individuals of all time and they are vanishing into eternity at a staggering rate. I am speaking of WWII vets. Before long, there will be no more of these special men and women left. My Grandpa Distler and my wife’s Granddad Grace (who we called “Buddy”) both served our country during this great war. They have both since past into eternity and are enjoying their reward in heaven due to their faith in Christ.

At this year’s Patriotic Celebration, which will take place here at Grace Church on Sunday, July 6, we want to take the time to especially honor all WWII vets in our community who will attend one of these services. In fact, I will be telling the story of two WWII veterans. The first is my Grandpa Distler. I have his Bible that he carried with him during the war. At the time that the war ended and the big announcement was made, my Grandpa was the postal master on board the USS General A.W. Greely (pictured) in the Arabian Sea. In this Bible, my Grandpa used the postal stamp of the ship to stamp the date in his Bible, August 15, 1945.

In this Bible, my Grandpa kept a kind of running diary. Here are some examples.

April 11, 1946 – Left Barrackpore India at 6am in a C-54 with a perfect take-off. What a thrill it is as you look out the window – beautiful God’s country. Landed in Dehli at 10am. Grand place and clean. Took off from Dehli at 11am and arrived in Karrachi at 3pm with perfect landing and clear visibility.

But in the back page of this Bible my Grandpa wrote a full page on the greatest event that he experienced during the war. At our Patriotic Celebration on July 6, I will be sharing that account. I will also be sharing a story about another World War II Veteran. His name is John H. Light who wrote a wonderful little book entitled, “An Infantryman Remembers World War II.” I was given a copy of this book by his daughter, Becky Wingert, who attends Grace Church. I have been reading this book and am thrilled that Mr. Light will be with us for our Patriotic Celebration (I will have my copy of his book there for him to autograph for me).

I am going to be sharing an amazing account from this book that took place to Mr. Light after he was wounded and returned to the States where he underwent surgery and treatment at the Walter Reed hospital. A special visitor came to see Mr. Light and some of the other wounded soldiers. I will reveal at our Patriotic Celebration on Sunday, July 6 who that visitor was.

Are you a WWII Vet? Do you know a WWII Vet? This will be a special morning for them. In order to be able to honor them as we wish, we need to know that they will be in attendance that morning (9:30am or 11:00am). Please call the church office at 626-2155 to let us know the name of any WWII vet that will be part of our Patriotic Celebration.

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