Sadao Munemori was born in Los Angeles, California. As a young man he joined the Japanese-American 442ndRegimental Combat Team which included the 100thInfantry Battalion, the most heavily decorated unit in World War II. Sadao, while fighting on a hillside near Seravezza, Italy, was faced with a wounded squad leader and an entire team pinned down by machine gun fire. Private First Class Munemori decided to engage in a one-man frontal attack. Using grenades he wiped out two machine gun nests but in the process became completely exposed to enemy fire.
The 3rd United States Infantry Regiment has three active battalions, and is identified by its nickname, “The Old Guard.” The regiment is a major unit of the Military District of Washington (MDW) and is the oldest active duty regiment in the U.S. Army. Originally called the First American Regiment in 1784, its mission is “to conduct memorial affairs to honor fallen comrades and ceremonies and special events to represent the U.S. Army.”
For over sixty years the United States and the Republic of Korea have maintained a military alliance against the forces of North Korea. The slogan that best captures this friendship and commitment is “katchi kapshida” which literally means “we go together.” On June 25, 1950 North Korea launched an offensive with the purpose of uniting the peninsula by force in order to create a communist state. Over 54,000 Americans gave their lives defending the south until finally an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. My dad was one of the Marines who was wounded and decorated for his heroism during that war. North Korea never signed a peace treaty so technically both the south and north are still at war. Today, an uneasy truce exists along the 2.5 mile wideand 160 miles long demilitarized zone (DMZ).Many believe it is only the bond between the U.S. and South Korea that keeps the North from attacking.
Dr. Jerry White shares an insightful story in his book Rules To Live By. A young lieutenant forgot to wear his tie with his dress uniform on the day he had to brief a general. Not having enough time to return home, he buttoned up his raincoat and wore it into the meeting. When the general asked him why he was wearing his raincoat, the young man admitted he’d forgotten to wear his tie. So, the general told him to take off his raincoat and then he asked everyone present for the meeting to remove their neckties.
Jerry White, Rules to Live By, Colorado Springs: NavPress, ©2010, ps 112,113
Naomi and Elimelech left their home in Judah because of a severe food shortage and moved to the land of Moab. Tragically, Elimelech and both of his sons (who married Moabite women), died. When Naomi heard the famine ended in Judah she decided to return home. She tried to get her daughters-in-law to stay describing her life as much to bitter for them to share. Orpah agreed with Naomi’s assessment and elected to find a husband in Moab. But Ruth was a woman of deeper discernment.
1 Samuel 12:23,24—As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way. Above all, fear the LORD and worship Him faithfully with all your heart, considering the great things He has done for you.
This month I had the privilege of delivering the commissioning speech to the ROTC graduates at the University of Portland. Seven cadets in front of their friends and relatives raised their right hands and swore to support and defend the constitution. Each stood before a noncommissioned officer to render their first salute and then gave the NCO a silver dollar in keeping with Army tradition. It was a moving ceremony and I was impressed by the quality of the young men and women ready to serve their nation.
If ever there was a need for prayer, it will be for a man named Obama. He inherits a nation at war with a stressed out economy. He will pilot a land divided in opinion in the midst of a world looking for a messiah. He will render senior leadership in a most complicated government with junior experience and little room for failure. He will face a press that is woeful in gathering all the facts and enemies that would love to see this nation destroyed. He will need wisdom from above in a culture that increasingly follows an ethical theory and practice “that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.”*
He walked into work and people were crying—not a good sign. The warehouse manger, not his boss, called him into his office and read him a form letter announcing that he would be let go. “Dan, your job has been eliminated.” Dan put his hand on the manager’s hand and said, “Dave, don’t make this any harder on yourself than you need to. You’re my friend.” Dave started crying. “Somebody’s going to have to escort you out of the building.”
David Ole Kereto was born in Narok, Kenya, the Maasai son of a witch doctor. By tradition he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. One of the highest honors for a Maasai male is to become a warrior. To achieve warrior status, one must kill a lion or a man. To kill a lion, tribesmen will surround the big cat and agitate it by shouting. One of the men then steps forward making himself a target. He holds a spear in his right hand and a stick sharpened to a point on both ends in the other hand. When the lion attacks it usually lunges for the spear hand. Just as it leaps, the Maasai shifts the stick to his right hand and as the lion opens its mouth he thrusts it between its jaws. David accomplished this at age 15 thereby becoming a Maasai warrior!
She said I should go back home to my mother. It seemed like the logical thing to do. I mean why travel to a place I’ve never been to live with people I don’t know? My husband, Kilion died. Life was tough. It was like all my dreams just disintegrated into tiny, bitter ashes. I wanted to do the right thing but what was the right thing to do?
Turn on the television these days and you’re likely to see a “reality” program. Spawned by the show Survivor, Hollywood churns out Fear Factor, Temptation Island, the Bachelor, etc., in ever-increasing bizarreness to titillate our senses. But these shows have little to do with reality, they are all about the pursuit of thrills. A bored nation craves standing on the edge of immoral precipices. It’s not enough to know someone is inebriated, now viewers must see vomiting—as if such disgusting behavior will in some way rivet more eyes to the box of shame.
Jeff plays the game of soccer. He is not an impact player who by great talent can take over a game. In fact in many ways he is limited. But he gives all he has. At a fifty-plus age in a league where most players are in their late 30’s and early forties, he is quite amazing. You see he never stops looking for an opportunity to score. By sheer persistence he manages occasionally to do what better players fail to accomplish—put the ball in the net! In my book his play is the stuff of the heroic.
Quarantine is a condition of forced isolation often imposed upon those with a contagious disease, or to determine if someone is in fact infected. My computer has the capability to quarantine off sectors in which a virus has been discovered. This built-in protective measure is intended to keep my hard drive from crashing!
The beginning of the year is a time when people in our society reflect. For many, new resolutions and goals are forged on the gold-embossed pages of a new journal. Yet as the past is closed for the door of tomorrow a timeless God is not concerned with another year. His word makes His question clear—are we loyal to Him?
Romans 13:14--But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10—We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (NIV)
While standing in the immigration line in Narita airport—Tokyo, Japan after a long flight from San Francisco, I heard my name called by a voice from the past. There ahead of me was my best friend from college and five years in the army—Dave Mead. Wow! What are the odds of a guy from Oregon running into his friend from New York in one of the largest airports in the world?