Meeting a Vet
There are not many men left who actually saw combat in WWII, especially those who participated in some of the more well-known battles. Many were transported to the beaches by an LST, much like the one which is visiting for a few days in Chattanooga (it leaves 9/18).
When I went down to the river to take a picture of LST 325, the last of its kind, it wasn’t hard to spot the older veterans. If they weren’t walking slowly, supported by a walking stick, they were riding in wheelchairs, or holding on to a younger loved one’s arm. Each of them, no matter what age, exhibited a nostalgic look, one that hinted at a smile, yet betrayed a sense of loss and pain.
One elementary teacher I talked to said after touring the ship, “You know, after going through that thing, I don’t know how any of them survived to make it back.”
Well, yesterday, after attending an executive board meeting with our local Baptist association, I got to meet an extraordinary veteran who actually rode one of those LST’s to the beaches of Iwo Jima to fight the Japanese, Mr. Paul George.
Mr. George, like so many others, risked his life not only to preserve our freedoms, but to liberate others. Fortunately, he survived; many others did not. To all of them we owe an incalculable debt.
Waiting for His Time
But here’s the thing: odds are none of us are going to make it out of this life alive. And as a matter of fact, some of our loved ones have already gone on home and are now waiting for our tour of duty to end. I believe that’s what Mr. George was sorta getting at when he wrote the following note to be sent to his friends and loved ones, those who were concerned about him after his wife’s departure.
“Just a note to let you know that I am doing quite well even though Martha left me June 17, 2013 (eight days short of our 70th anniversary) to be with Jesus. I do miss her but I know she is much better off and is waiting for me.
My life now is like it was when I was in the Pacific during WWII. Her picture is ever before me and now I wait for life to be over as I was waiting for the war to be over and we would be together again. The difference is that I am not in a hurry for our reunion as I was before, I want The Lord to use me as a witness of His Grace. The Lord’s timing is Right and I will wait.” – Paul George
They call men like Mr. George “the greatest generation.” This is just one more reason why.
God bless you, dear brother, for your desire has been granted: you certainly are a witness of God’s grace.