Military Prayer

When the Music Stopped

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on When the Music Stopped

Beaufort Observer
Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins

The following story was reported in the Veteran’s Network. It is attributed to Army Reserve Chaplain Jim Higgins who, when he is not deployed, is Senior Pastor of McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church, located in Powder Springs, Georgia:

I recently attended a showing of ‘Superman 3,’ here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem the music stopped.


Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments; and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place. Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen?


Even here I would imagine laughter, as everyone finally sat down and expected the movie to start. But here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice , then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: ‘ And the rockets red glare, The bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night That our flag was still there. Oh, say d does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free, And the home of the brave.’


It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here. Remember them as they fight for you! Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. For many have already paid the ultimate price.

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Chaplains of the Civil War

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on Chaplains of the Civil War

On the 16th of August 1862 over fifteen hundred sick and wounded soldiers were brought to the hospital, most of them from the (second) battle of Bull Run. Many had died on the way [to the hospital] from exhaustion, others were in a dying state, so that the chaplain, Father McGrane, was sent to administer the sacraments.

The priest continued to minister in the hospital, baptizing converts, celebrating Mass, hearing confessions and anointing the dying. While he was stationary, most chaplains performed their ministry in mobile camps and on shifting battlefields for Union and Confederate forces. Among the latter, one of the most famous was Father John Bannon.

A tribute to him, written at the end of the 19th century, said that Father Bannon “left a comfortable living and prosperous parish in this city (St. Louis) for the privations and discomforts of an army life. … His influence … was felt by all who associated with him, and his presence wherever he went repressed the rude manners of the camp.

Not that he objected to gaiety and mirthful pleasure, for he had the most affable manners and genial nature, but he always frowned upon the soldiers’ unrestrained expressions and rude jests. … He became noted for his bravery in the field in attending the wounded and dying in very exposed places. He was both a pious and a practical man, and became a ministering angel wherever broken and bruised humanity needed help and consolation.”

Father Bannon became so renowned that Confederate President Jefferson Davis dispatched him to Ireland to appeal for support for the South. The priest remained there until his death in 1913.

On the other side of the front lines, Holy Cross Father William Corby, who would later become president of the University of Notre Dame, served Northern troops during the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa. He did so with such distinction that a statue of him now stands on that battleground. The sculpture portrays him with his hand raised in blessing. A plaque informs visitors that the monument shows “Father Corby, a chaplain of the Irish brigade, giving general absolution and blessing before battle at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863.”

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Courage Rushed In

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on Courage Rushed In

Streets of Hitby CPL JOSH WICKER, USMC

The following letter was sent by Cpl Josh Wicker, USMC, to his wife, Allison, to reassure her about his “getting hurt a little.” The letter was passed on to LtCol George Whitbeck, USMC, an OCF member, and he thought members would be interested. He asked Josh for permission to publish it in COMMAND.


“Wife of mine, I am great and God is good!

I know we talked earlier, but things were choppy and I was shaky so I thought I would write and try to clear up the picture a little. I figure you can send it out to family so you don’t have to explain it over and over…

We had two contacts today about twenty-five minutes apart. First one: we were rolling down a terrible road behind a dilapidated town, poor and falling apart.

I started hearing gun shots and thought someone had either just taken a potshot at us or someone in the patrol was shooting a car that had passed our kill line (that happens a lot).

But a few seconds later shots rang out again, coming from the town. At best this was a haphazard attack. Maybe a few people jumping on the opportunity to get lit up by some Marines. I don’t know.

I just know I saw muzzle flashes coming from three buildings and opened up on them. Immediately the patrol stopped and everyone got in on the action.

We handled the situation pretty well and followed all the expected response exercises (becoming the aggressors instead of the ambushed). Two bad guys down -zero good guys! The whole episode was about twenty-five minutes. We rolled on.

We dropped off about half of our men (‘the BEAST,’ my team, was playing taxi today) and proceeded home. We got about two minutes down a highway that is in our AO (Area of Operations), got hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and took rocket fire.

I am always the gunner in the fourth vehicle and for the third time since we have been here the fourth vehicle was picked as the primary target of the insurgents’ IED.

God was protecting us though, and the bad guys didn’t know it. Just as the IED went off we were passing a Mac truck and that truck took the brunt of the explosion.

I felt the blast just as I heard it so I knew it was close. The shrapnel came through the armored windshield (causing glass and bits of shrapnel to enter the vehicle. The driver was struck in the face (he got hit the hardest) by shrapnel on his right cheek. His jaw was broken from the force.

My right calf (I stand facing the rear of the vehicle on the gun) took some of the leftover force and little pieces of glass from the windshield.

At the time it felt worse than it was. I also got a piece of shrapnel to the shoulder. It went though my flack jacket (like a bullet- proof vest) and stopped at my shoulder. I have a hole in my blouse and skivvy shirt the size of a quarter, but the wound has no shrapnel in it and looks more like I fell and skinned my knee on some asphalt! (I told you God was protecting us). Our Staff Sergeant didn’t get hurt at all.

After the explosion my right side was in so much pain I couldn’t man the gun. I looked down and saw that our driver was hurt much worse and I prayed that God would help me stay in the fight physically and mentally because we were immobile and a perfect target for small arms fire.

It seemed like I heard a voice saying, ‘Step up to the plate Josh, you have to.’ And the pain went away. I could stand on my leg with no pain and I forgot about my shoulder wound.

Not surprisingly, the time element is a little sketchy in my mind, but about two minutes later a rocket was fired at our stationary lead vehicle landing about 100 meters short. I saw the dust clouds from the firing point and engaged it with the M-19 (machine gun that fires grenades).

When the dust settled I saw nothing. I don’t know if he drove away in his truck or if I destroyed the truck. I hope I blew it away. Some time later I shot at a FO (forward observer) and missed low and right…he disappeared.

Doc came to our vehicle and treated our driver and the passenger in the Mac truck. Mostly bandages. No one knew I was hurt until we got back to the base.

It was crazy, the emotions going through my body as we rode back. I wanted to kill everyone I saw, out of fear. And then I was also thinking I should wave at everyone like normal so they would think everything was fine and we were invincible!

I started singing to God as we rode and I looked into the peoples’ eyes (so many filled with hate) knowing that they couldn’t touch me, not a hair on my body, unless the God of the Angel Armies allowed them to. And to tell you the truth, anything an Almighty God wants is going to be just fine with me, because He is good, He loves me, and I trust Him. It is good to be on His side.

All that to say I am fine, just some bandages on the calf and one on the shoulder. Oh, I almost forgot. On the way back Staff Sergeant was driving and he yelled up to me to say a prayer for us. I did. I started yelling out a prayer and the power of God filled our truck.

All fear vanished and courage rushed in. Gotta go… out of time.”

Love you, Josh

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For Our Troops All Around the World

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on For Our Troops All Around the World


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A Korean War Story

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on A Korean War Story

What follows is a letter written by a young Marine to his mother while he was hospitalized after being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. It came into the hands of a Navy Chaplain who read the letter before 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in 1951.

The Navy Chaplain had talked to the young man, to his mother, and to the Sergeant in charge of the patrol. This Navy Chaplain, Father Walter Muldy, assured anyone who asked, that this was a true story. This letter was read once a year in the 1960’s over a mid-western radio station at Christmas time.

Dear Mom,

I wouldn’t dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard, but I have to tell somebody.

First off, I am in a hospital. Now don’t worry, you hear me, don’t worry. I was wounded but I’m okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month. But that is not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn’t have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I have always prayed to St. Michael. When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? “Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh corps of Heaven adorning…” You know the rest of it. Well, I said it every day, sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting, but always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold; my breath was like cigar smoke. I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I’d ever seen. He must have been over 6 feet 4 inches and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near me.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, “Cold ain’t it.” And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather!

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly.

I looked at him, “I’ve never seen you before. I thought I knew every man in the outfit.”

“I just joined at the last minute,” he replied, “the name is Michael.”

“Is that so,” I said surprised, “that’s my name too.”

“I know,” he said, and then went on saying the prayer, “Michael, Michael of the morning…”

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn’t I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen? Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.

Neither of us spoke for a time, and then he broke the silence.

“We’re going to have some trouble up ahead.” He must have been in fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly I couldn’t see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself; well with the commies all around us, that’s no great revelation.

Snow began to fall in thick great globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out, and I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

“Michael!” I shouted in sudden alarm. I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, “This will stop shortly.”

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol. There was no one in sight. We lost them in the heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise. Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them, seven commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn’t anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

“Down Michael!” I screamed, and hit the frozen earth. I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing.

Mom, those guys couldn’t have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits, but there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least that’s what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit. Now I know.

I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I thought I was dying. Maybe I was even dead. I remember thinking, “Well, this is not so bad.”

Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock, but it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again, only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor.

As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.

Well, that’s the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me; I don’t know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment’s rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

“Where’s Michael?” I asked. I saw them look at one another. “Where’s who?” asked one.

“Michael, that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us.”

“Kid,” said the sergeant, “you weren’t walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in, when you disappeared in the snow.”

He looked at me, curiously. “How did you do it, kid?”

“How did I do what?” I asked half angry, despite my wound. “This Marine named Michael and I were just…” “Son,” said the sergeant kindly, “I picked this outfit myself and there just ain’t another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it.”

He paused for a minute. “Just how did you do it, kid? We heard shots, yet there hasn’t been a shot fired from your rifle, and there isn’t a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there.”

I didn’t say anything; what could I say? I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then, the sergeant spoke again. “Kid,” he said gently, “every one of those seven commies was killed by a sword stroke.”

That is all I can tell you, Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain, but that is what happened. 

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From PTSD to Pastor

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on From PTSD to Pastor

Lord, please do not let today be my last day…

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