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Memorial Day Memories

My father turned 18 in June of 1942 and joined the US Army as soon as he could. His eyesight wasn’t any better than mine, so he never saw combat, but he was still proud to serve his country.

His parents brought him to this country when he was five and he started kindergarten without knowing any English. When he was old enough worked after school at the family bakery in Brooklyn.

Growing up in the Great Depression, he didn’t have it easy, but he took the skills he acquired into the military with him and worked way up to staff sergeant. He ran the kitchen that fed other enlisted men as they trained and defended the New England coastline.

He taught me a lot through the years. He’s the voice in my head that tells me “If anything’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

He gave me my love for music too, even though he couldn’t play a lick on anything. We listened to every original cast broadway recording we could find. One of his favorite musicals was Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Maybe because he served in WWII, Do you remember, “There ain’t nothin’ like a dame” and “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair.” There’s another song in that show that he always quoted, and it stuck with me. “Before you’re 6 or 7 or 8 you must be carefully taught to hate.”

Joshua after he led the children of Israel across the Jordan into the promised land instructed a representative of each tribe to go back into the Jordan and select a boulder. The 12 rocks were piled up and Joshua instructed them when your children ask you “What are these rocks for?” you can tell them how God brought you through the wilderness into this land.

My father passed on the Promised land in 1992. But his words still ring my head as a memorial to God’s faithfulness, and our duty to serve Him and respect our country.

So this Memorial Day, let us pause before the hamburgers and hot dogs and thank God for the freedom we have in this country. Let us remember those who gave their lives for that freedom. And if you don’t mind, remember one staff sergeant who brought his humble gift of cooking to help an army defend its country. Whatever you do, whether it’s in the kitchen, or the sound booth, the classroom or the boardroom, do it all for the glory of God!

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