If you are staying at home on Sunday morning because your church is temporarily closed down or you don’t attend a church at all, here is a great sermon for your listening pleasure. I say, “listening” because it is not a visual video, as many that I put on my blogs, but simply a recording.
This message is given by Thomas Whartenby, who was brought up as a Roman Catholic… has been the minister of Galax Presbyterian Church for forty plus years and is a Vietnam veteran. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, is the church organist and choir director. Their ministry is in a small community situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA.
I was privileged to include him in my book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Why is it important to hear Dr. Whartenby’s message?
As a people and a nation, we are extremely self-centered. Yes, there are many caring people among us, but as a culture there is much to be improved. I can only speak for our country, but I would guess that it might be the “new normal” for most of the world. Of course, included in this, is the added pressure of isolating and how to take care of OURSELVES when there is such a need to reach out to others. We are warned nationally and locally about “distancing,” which only makes self-centeredness more prevalent. It is hard to know when to think of SELF as far as health is concerned and believe that we are doing it for others. The problem is that the “others” don’t know that our standoffish actions are for them.
As we look at history, much of “what’s in it for me” has come about with the industrial revolution, increase in technology, ability to hear and see through the media an emphasis on having more and more. Life has become a rush to acquire, get ahead, and forget about what is really important. Patience is a long-lost virtue.
We want things and service NOW...no waiting! Almost everything we do is “How does it effect ME?” In some cases, it is how can I get something for nothing? Our young people and children, unfortunately, are modeling these behaviors and attitudes.
The Holy Scripture has something to say about this problem. Dr. Whartenby, “Tom”, gives a fresh understanding of why we want self-gratification. He puts in modern terms thoughts that make sense to all of us.
It will be worth your time of 30 minutes to listen. I am including this link for those who believe that we all need a new look at what this title means….IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT US.
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are small towns with people who will never forget those brave men and women who left their farms and home places to fight for our country and freedom in the world. Throughout the rolling countryside and along the blue colored ridges of the mountains… filled with cattle, fields, and beautiful wildflowers, one will find small family graves with an American flag. This will always indicate that the person buried there served in an American war.
On this Memorial Day, the young Military Science students and the older men and women of this Blue Ridge area remember the Fallen of all wars and pray prayers for the many POW-MIA’s who are still missing. (Slide show below)
As my husband and I joined in this day of Remembrance, I’m in the midst of writing a new book about American military veterans, entitled Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge, which should be on Amazon by July, 2018.
My interviews with those who went to serve during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been eye-opening. These are people of great courage and fortitude. Millions did not return, but for those here in the Blue Ridge, these men forged new lives and continued to make our FREE America an even better place.
One chapter in my book will feature the Childress family in the Blue Ridge who had four men in the military at once during World War II. Paul (upper right picture and with wife and baby) served in Patton’s Command in France.
The women of the Blue Ridge served as well, including Francis Childress, a cousin to Paul. Other chapters will take notice of a female military nurse who was awarded the Bronze Star. The Bronze Star Medal is a decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, valor, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
As I read memoirs and listened, I learned that fighting on Heart Break Ridge in Korea with legs frozen, slipping out of camp at night in France during World War II to find food for hungry soldiers, spending weeks in the confines of a submarine, fighting off boredom and jungle heat in Vietnam or losing limbs in Afghanistan or Iraq were difficult and in most cases horrible experiences. It was their part of life that they were willing to share with me and I am grateful because I will never look at a veteran again in the same way.
This is why I write this blog to encourage you to take an hour or so on Memorial Day from your interest in sports events, picnics or other activities to give our military the honor they so deserve. Your freedom today is what they did to keep us free. It is important that our children and grandchildren are taught history and the meaning of our national Memorial Day. I was amazed to see that since the last Memorial Day ceremony of 2017, in the small town of Galax, VA. that 90+ people had died who were veterans in this part of the Blue Ridge. We are rapidly losing those who fought in World War II and their stories should be told.
To those whose lives and deaths were the ultimate sacrifice….there is not enough thanks in heaven or earth to give to you…but we will try.
To the gravely wounded warriors who have come home and forged new lives, we give you honor. We have contacted this brave warrior for an interview that will shed light on all those who have suffered so much.
Thank you to all veterans…men and women. We give tribute to all the wives and families that were left behind to faithfully live and wait for their loved ones to return home.
VIDEO Turn up sound (Credit “American Soldier” by Toby Keith)
Never heard of Galax Leaves? An elderly woman approached me one day selling them for the Leaf Festival that is held annually in Galax, Virginia. This is also the home of the Old Time Fiddler’s Convention….and not to be outdone….is the World’s Largest Flea Market in the neighboring town of Hillsville. Our favorite is the Victorian mansion that sits on the hill in Independence, VA, not far from Galax. We made friends with the owners who have worked hard to make this a special destination. See Davis-Bourne Inn
What does the Galax leaf look like? Here are the ones I purchased from the leaf lady.