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Thank You Veterans

Helen Mooradkanian’s draft introduction in her book Glimpses of Glory beautifully says thank you to all Veterans as she highlights a few Veterans stories who served during WWII, Korea and Vietam.

She plans to have the entire book available on Veterans Day 2022.

Copyright © 2021 Helen S. Mooradkanian

Introduction (Rev. 11.10.21 )  *****

 “Any nation that does not

honor its heroes will not long endure.”

                                                            President Abraham Lincoln

“Man looks on the outward appearance

but the LORD looks at the heart.”

                                                                                                                        I Samuel 16:7

      We all need heroes.

      Men and women whose lives beckon us like a shining star to a higher purpose, who challenge us to aim higher, put our roots down deeper, search for that “something more” to fill that empty void within, one often hard to describe. Men and women who answer the clarion call of God, Country, and Freedom. Their motto is, and always has been, duty, honor, service, sacrifice—and commitment.

      In this book, I share with you a few of my heroes, men I have personally met. In the long hours I spent with them, soaking up their every word, I heard about their wartime experiences, what kept them going, the new season of life that opened up after they completed their military service. These became the stepping stones to deeper conversations. Most often, it led to prayer. It was an honor for me when they asked me to pray for them. Even more, when they asked me to pray with them.

      Not only are they my heroes whom I honor but, more importantly, they are my friends, and the bonds we share I am cherishing forever.

      Through my many hours spent with them, I came to realize that heroes are formed in secret before they are born in the heat of battle. Ordinary men who performed extraordinary feats.

      The seed of greatness lies hidden in their heart, where it is nurtured. There, in secret, a holy fire burns. They are tested in the furnace of adversity. They are prepared for a specific moment in time. During this preparation, many look at the hero’s outward appearance and dismiss him. Yet on the inside, he is becoming pure gold.

         The hero looks up, and catches the vision. He hears, and speaks out what he has seen and heard. With extraordinary boldness and courage, he charges into battle. He leads by example. Freedom and liberty course through his veins. No sacrifice is too great, and he is willing to lay down his own life for his country and for others. The spark he ignites spreads like a blazing fire. It cannot be quenched. His men rise up and follow him!

      The hero is a secret weapon in the hands of his Commander-in-Chief.

      At the midnight hour, when the call to greatness often comes, his passion, vision, and destiny meet and intersect. We then look upon his deeds and sacrifices and call him a hero. He, however, refuses this title. Others did far more, he is quick to point out. Heroes are humble.

      It was not by coincidence we were brought together. Like living parables, their messages have been written on my heart. I will remember them always.

            They upheld the Constitution of the United States…

            They honored our nation’s flag…

            They confronted fear with supernatural boldness and courage…

            They obeyed the call to duty, and went into the unknown…

            They demonstrated uncommon valor in the heat of battle…

            They endured sadistic torture in POW camps…on death marches…

            They endured the floating dungeons of the Japanese “hell ships”…

            They sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.

      In all this, they persevered to the very end. They endured. Through every conceivable fiery trial. They never, ever gave up! Never! They fixed their eyes on one goal, and one goal alone—Victory!

      And when faced with the insurmountable, in their distress they called out to the God of the Impossible, who gave them supernatural strength. In their very weakness, they were made strong. As one man said:

      “You never know who God really is—until God is all you have.”

      Even more extraordinary, following the example of the One who forgives us, they turned around and forgave the very torturers who had sadistically brutalized them in the POW camps.

      How did they manage to go through all this and emerge victorious, you might ask.

      They looked “up” and they beheld a vision. They glimpsed the Glory of God breaking forth like the dawn, His rays shattering the darkness that was threatening the nation.

      “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

      Julia Ward Howe’s inspired words remind us of an eternal truth. We are never alone in the battle of Good against Evil.

      The heart’s cry of all people is for freedom and liberty. It is a seed planted in our spirit by our Creator, who has endowed us with this “unalienable right,” as our Founding Fathers so eloquently stated in The Declaration of Independence. No government granted it. No government can take it from us.

      Our forefathers and the generations that followed heard the Call—and could not help but respond. “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

      These lessons are important for us, for both you and me, for our descendants. Lessons sewn into the fabric of this great nation. For today, as never before, we are engaged in a war unlike any we have ever faced before as a nation. We are in a battle for the soul of America. A war that seeks to destroy the very foundations of our Republic. A war that seeks to shred the very fabric of our Constitution. A battle between Good and Evil, Truth and Deception. An Invisible Enemy inside our very borders.

     Like the veterans whose stories follow—veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam—we too must remain steadfast. They have given us a legacy we must pass on. They bind us together in one unbroken chain, one generation building on the next—the past, present, and future all linked together. One unending story. One glorious common good. All connected by God’s amazing grace.

      In November 1861, six months into the Civil War, which was tearing America apart, Julia Ward Howe roused the nation with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Her words still challenge us today:

      “As He (Christ) died to make men holy, Let us die to make men free.”

      Eight decades later, on December 7, 1941, Dr. Peter Marshall (later appointed U.S. Senate Chaplain) stood up to address the graduating midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. Suddenly a deep urgency gripped him. Setting aside his prepared sermon, he spoke words totally unplanned but divinely inspired:

      “Only when you have something to die for, have you something to live for.”1

      Within hours came news of the surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. His message was prophetic.

     As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787:

            “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with
             the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
2

     We must count the cost.

     President Ronald Reagan’s words sound the alarm for every generation:

            Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation
            away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for
            and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once

            to a people. And those in world history who have known freedom and

            then lost it have never known it again.3

     The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.4

     It was this love of freedom, the freedom to worship God, which drove both my Armenian grandparents to flee to America—escaping the Turkish massacres of Christians. One fled from Armenia with his young family—in the middle of the night—with only the clothes on their backs. A building contractor, he left his home in the shadow of Mount Ararat, where Noah’s ark is said to have rested. Somehow, some way, they made it to Le Havre, France, where they booked passage on a ship to America. My other grandfather, a Bible translator with the American Bible Society in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey, spirited away his family, one at a time, with the help of a missionary pastor from America. They sailed on smaller vessels to America, trailed all the way by hungry sharks.

     I remember sitting around the dinner table with a distant cousin who, as a child, had been forced on one of the death marches of Armenian Christians by the Turkish government. She survived, but all her family perished. She was rescued by American missionaries who had rushed over to save the thousands of children orphaned by the genocide, and to set up orphanages. With their help, she eventually came to America. Julia Ward Howe, who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” became an impassioned supporter of the Armenian people, and was elected the first president of the United Friends of Armenia, a humanitarian relief organization established in the United States of America.

     Growing up in our family, we heard story after story of “Papa God” and His faithfulness, protection, and healing power through Jesus His Son—eye-witness accounts, personal testimonies handed down through the generations. They were woven into everyday life. In the same way, we heard and memorized the stories of America’s rich heritage—our Founding Fathers and patriots, their bold and courageous feats, and their trust in God. Men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and many others.

     Not surprisingly, then, my passion for God and my passion for America are linked together as one. Two strands, indivisible, woven together into a single golden rope that flows through my blood, part of my DNA. From that union, this book was born.

      Above all, in these pages you will also meet Someone else. Your Heavenly Father who lovingly watches over you and answers your prayers. Jesus Christ, His Son, your great Shepherd, who seeks out that one lost sheep who has lost his way and lovingly saves him. And the Holy Spirit of God, your Helper, Counselor, Comforter, and Advocate who leads, guides, and empowers you through perilous times. At three different stages in my own life I had a life-changing encounter with each—Father, Jesus His Son, and His Holy Spirit. Each encounter opened my eyes to see a different facet of His glory. You too will see “glimpses of His glory” as you read the true stories in these pages.

      The enemy may kill your body—but he cannot kill your soul. Jesus came to set the captives free. He gives us eternal life. That is His promise to you, and to me.

      Our forefathers knew Jesus. So did the patriots and veterans who fought and died for our freedoms. You can too. He is waiting for you, with arms outstretched.

      What He has done for others, He will do for you.

______________________________________

1 Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter: The Story of Peter Marshall, Sermon “Go Down Death.”McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.: New York, Copyright 1951, 34th printing, p. 277.

2 Thomas Jefferson in a 1787 letter to William Stephens Smith, son-in-law of JohnAdams.

(www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/tree-liberty-quotation)

3 Jan. 5, 1967 Inaugural Address by Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California.

(www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/january-5-1967-inaugural-address-public-ceremony)

4This statement has been traced to John Philpot Curran (1750-1817, Irish statesman, although

generally attributed to Thomas Jefferson, among others. (www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/eternal-vigilance-price-liberty-spurious-quotation)

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