The Last 100 Yards is the National Infantry Museum’s signature exhibit. Figures cast from current soldiers make up the life-like scenes representing eight wars fought by Americans. As guests make their way into the museum, they walk up a 100-yard-long gently inclining ramp, which signifies the infantry’s role in taking the last 100 yards of any battle. As I walked the ramp with four other officers, the sights, sounds and solemn feel of the exhibit breathed sacrifice. We had already progressed part way when Mr. Talley, an elderly guide, asked if he could share with us the significance of what we were seeing. He proudly discussed the detailed planning and symbolism behind each section. He shared of the tears and the deep emotion felt by many veterans and their families who visited the museum just outside Fort Benning, Georgia, in the past two months since its opening.
Mr. Talley really got our attention when he directed our gaze out the window to the new parade field. Enlisted soldiers attending Officer Candidate School (OCS) now graduate before a grandstand instead of on a parking lot. Soil was carefully transported to this field from eight battlegrounds; dirt from places where Americans fought in our Revolutionary War, Yorktown, the Civil War, World Wars I & II, Viet-Nam, Korea and Iraq. Among the soil spreaders were descendants of Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt and Alvin York, as well as Lieutenant General Hal Moore and Command Sergeant Basil Plumley, who led the historic assault on the Viet Cong at Landing Zone X-Ray. Before OCS graduates march onto the parade field, they learn they will take their oath of allegiance on grass grown in dirt their descendants once shed blood to liberate.
2 Kings 5:17—Naaman responded, “If not, please let two mule-loads of dirt be given to your servant, for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other god but Yahweh.”
We come from dirt and dirt holds meaning. General Naaman, commander of the King of Aram’s army, became a worshiper of Israel’s God after He healed him of his leprosy. Naaman asked the prophet Elisha to allow him to take dirt from the land of Israel back to his own country so he could offer burnt offerings to God on earth he considered special. His cause was made certain by His Liberator.
If the stuff of dust can stir our hearts, imagine what the new earth God is planning will be like when we live with Him and all His glory! No longer will sin-infected blood spill on tainted soil. We will live with Jesus in our new eternal bodies. And each of us will be a museum testifying forever to the truth and light of Him who made us and loves us. We were taken from the ground that we might be given meaning beyond meaning.
People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.—Plato
I may not yet be as old as dirt, but dirt and I are starting to have an awful lot in common.—Stephen R. Donaldson
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)