Five Years to Freedom – Service | Sacrifice

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on Five Years to Freedom – Service | Sacrifice

Major James Rowe was a prisoner of war from 1963 to 1968 in South Vietnam.  His story is recorded in the book, Five Years to Freedom, where he concludes no audience could comprehend the constant physical pressures; the filth, disease, hunger; the crushing mental pressure; the frustrations, anxieties, the fears, and the constant threat of death while living in the jungles of Vietnam as a prisoner of war.

As American helicopters drove their small Vietcong unit into the rice paddies, Major Rowe thought he would perish with his captors in the overwhelming assault of bombs and helicopter fire.  “O Lord, please be with me now,” he prayed.  “This is going to be nasty.  Please get me through it.”  He was sure death was imminent, writing, “The thought of making it through was little more than a wish at the moment, but with a request in to the good Lord, I felt my chances were better than anyone else’s in the group…I heard the sound, soft, ominous, high to the east, and my stomach knotted.  I felt my spine tingle and it was as if my heart froze between beats.  O dear Lord God, please be with me…They had missed us!  They passed north of us and we were safe!  O Lord, thank you!  Thank you!”  A few days later, Major Rowe was able to flag an American helicopter with his white mosquito net, and was rescued.

Major Rowe graduated from West Point in 1960, where “Divine Services” were attended by all cadets.  He was a soldier, trained to pray as well as to fight.  He refers to the anthems he sang at West Point, and his prayers for help and courage throughout his book are spontaneous in moments of peril.  Are West Point Cadets still trained to uphold the fighting forces Code of Conduct?  Article XI states, “I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”

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