Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Heritage as a Preacher

I have been doing some research, started by my father's research into family history.
On the Post side we have a family tree completely intact back to the 16th century Holland.
Along that way one of my great grandfathers was Lazarus Lawson. He was a country preacher in Tennessee who would move to an area, start working somewhere and at the same time would start a church. Then when enough people were in that church and he felt God's calling he would move and start over again.
One of the person's converted at Lawson's meetings was a Dr. Ashley S. Johnson who later founded Johnson College a Christian School in Tenn. Here is that story:

Ashley Sidney Johnson was a student in the Law College of the University of Tennessee. A minister by the name of Lawson was holding a meeting in the school house at Gap Creek not far from where the College is now located. One night during this meeting it was raining and the roads were muddy as only the roads in Tennessee could be in those days. There were only 3 men at the service. Dr. Johnson's father who was a Christian and Ashley Sidney and another man, neither of whom were Christians. Brother Lawson preached and gave the invitation and both the men who were not Christians, accepted Christ. The date was October 13, 1877 and the invitation hymn was "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" Dr. Johnson forgot law school and gave himself unconditionally and without reserve to the cause of Christ. On the following day, October 14, 1877, he was baptized by John Adcock in the French Broad River. The following Saturday he was asked by Dr. Lawson to preach. On this occasion he proclaimed the truth for the first time. He had never publicly prayed but his efforts were well received. There in that little country church at Thorn Grove, Tennessee, Ashley S. Johnson launched out upon his campaign of winning persons and renewing minds for Christ.

This story was told by a man in the area and I copied it from a book we have. So, in doing this background we found that Lazarus Lawson was part of God's plan to save Dr. Johnson and bring about one of the great revivals of the 19th century. Lawson preached all over Tennessee in thos days and many were saved.

The picture above is of his family. I have one portrait of him but don't have a scanner so will have to include that another time.

My family has a rich Christian heritage, yet down through the years, the Posts pretty much walked away from that heritage. The picture above is of William T. Post my great grandfather and his wife Cora.

This is my grandpa William B. Post at his graduation in 1927. Grandpa was one of my heros in life. He passed away in 1998. He did have a problem though. For most of his life his treasure was money. He taught that to his sons and they taught that to their sons. Money was the most important thing a man could have.

This is my favorite picture of Grandpa. He is driving a horse drawn grader. He worked very very hard for his money. He made it through the Depression, and more. The good news is, at the end of his life he accepted Christ and he is in Heaven now.

Out of his 5 sons, only 1 lives for Christ now and that is my Dad. The others have had times when they have looked to God for help, but none really accepted Him fully. At least as far as I know.

There is William R. Post and William R.K. Post. Both of these William Post's are living for Christ and I believe this is in part due to the rich Christian heritage we have. Yet, I want to point out that my grandpa thought he was a Christian, just because of that heritage. This is how easily we can be deceived. Heritage is great, but we are ALL responsible to God on our own! I am sort of rambling and not really trying to make a point but next time you see this ol' boy Bill trying to preach, just know that it is in my blood!

I miss my Grandpa and Grandma, but will see them soon, praise be to God!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Shameless Plug for Sunday School!!

I have the privilege of leading an adult Sunday School class at my church. It is one of the most diverse groups of people probably ever put together in one church.
We have Evangelicals, Baptists, Assembly of Gods, Foursquares, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, new Christians, mature Christians, 20 somethings, 80 somethings and everything in between.
Not only are they diverse, but they ALL hunger and thirst after righteousness!
We have wonderful discussion and yet they also let me rant and rave when I feel strongly about the subject matter we might be on that week. There are probably times when these kind people want to shoot me, but they let me go!
This past Sunday they gave me a wonderful gift and card.

I say all of this to encourage anyone reading this, who does not currently go to a Sunday School anywhere, please find one this Sunday!
There is really no replacement for a great Sunday School class. The fellowship, the thinking, discussion, learning, prayer support and more, is awesome.
You don't get that from one hour of worship on Sunday morning. You are really missing out.
Now of course if you are serving in the Church, then this does not apply. You are doing VERY important work.
Unless you are serving, you SHOULD be in Sunday School!!!
Our class regularly supports two missionary families to the tune of about $400 a month, they constantly find other people to support financially and in other ways, they hold tons of things and people up in prayer weekly and more. This is a very very caring and loving class.
I invite you to come visit us if you don't currently have a class. We meet at 11am in the Fellowship Hall rooms 1 and 2 at Salem Evangelical Church. Please feel free to contact me for more information. We are called the OPEN BIBLE Class, because we OPEN our Bibles! We don't study anything but the Bible.
We are currently in the book of 1 Samuel.
There will be one exception in Janurary.
All of our adult teachers have been asked to teach on "The Treasure Principle" by Randy Alcorn for the first three weeks of January as part of our Pastor's series on giving.
I hope to hear from or see you this Sunday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

"The Dark Knight" Batman Returns Heath Ledger as the Joker

Heath Ledger looks awesome as The Joker in next summer's "The Dark Knight" the sequel to "Batman Begins" with Christian Bale back as Batman.

I am here to help you understand the Democrat Brain

That be one scary woman!!

Ok here is a story that will help you understand the Democratic Mind:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until on day, the owner threw them a curve.
'Because you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. 'Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before.
And the first four continued to drink for free.
But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. 'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10! ''Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I! ''That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks! ''Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor! 'The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.
In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Now if you understood that story, then you are fine.
If you didn't understand it, welcome to the Democratic Party!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fred Thompson is endorsed by Conservative Weslyan Church

Thompson criticizes Huckabee's position on Cuban embargo
Herald Tribune

Thompson criticizes Huckabee's position on Cuban embargo

Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson toured a Bay of Pigs museum in Little Havana on Monday and then criticized rival Mike Huckabee for previously saying the Cuban trade embargo should be lifted.

"He's been a long opponent of the embargo against (Cuban President Fidel) Castro. He thinks we should lift the embargo against Castro, and I disagree with that," said Thompson, whose campaign put out a statement the day before attacking Huckabee on the issue.

As Arkansas governor, Huckabee said the embargo should be lifted, saying it hurt the state's farmers. But before Thompson's event, he told reporters in Miami that he has come to understand Cuban-Americans' perspective on the embargo and said as president he would veto any legislation attempting to lift it.

Thompson said that was a political move.

"People take the views they've had all their political lives and when they decide they want to run for president, they change them. So the question is, where are you going to be in your future?" Thompson said. "It raises issues when politicians change their view on a dime to appeal to a particular group of people right before an election."

Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and star of "Law & Order," made his remarks after touring a museum honoring men who participated in the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He was shown a gun that once belonged to Fidel Castro's brother, Raul, a bullet removed from a man executed during the invasion, photos of those killed in the invasion and historic Cuban flags.

"I've been a strong, consistent, commonsense, anti-Castro conservative my entire career. That's where I've always been, that's where I'll be in the future," Thompson said.

He told Cuban-Americans gathered at the museum that he looks forward to Castro's demise.

"My greatest wish is to be the president of the United States when Cuba is free, and free Cubans put on trial those who need to be put on trial," he told them.

Fidel Castro, 81, hasn't been seen publicly since undergoing surgery in July 2006, when he ceded power to Raul.

Thompson later told The Associated Press that Castro's death will be a part of bringing change to Cuba, though he cautioned that change may not be immediate.

"The leadership there is old. His brother is no spring chicken, either," Thompson said. "The Cuban people themselves, with the right kind of assistance, ultimately will be the source of their own freedom."

Earlier, Huckabee was endorsed by Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American. Both candidates were campaigning in Miami the day after a Spanish-language debate.

Multiple calls to two Huckabee spokeswomen seeking comment about Thompson's remarks went unanswered. Messages couldn't be left because their voice mailboxes were full.

Huckabee son arraigned in Dog Killing
Governor’s son 1 of 2; fired at Scout camp; after stray dog killed


The younger son of Gov. Mike Huckabee and another teen were fired last month from jobs at a Boy Scout camp after the killing of a stray dog.

Marcal Young of Texarkana, scout executive of the Caddo Area Council that operates the camp where the dog was killed, said this week that two boys violated a Scout law, “A Scout is kind.”

Young would not release the names of the boys nor explain how the dog, “probably a mixed breed,” was killed.

The two teens reported the event immediately and said they had made a mistake.
“They felt it [the dog] was ill and what have you, still our policy is it was inappropriate behavior,” Young said.

He would not say what the boys thought was wrong with the dog, but he said they did not suspect rabies.

Members of the camp staff receive training before camp starts and are told what it means to be “a good role model,” Young said.

An anonymous, unconfirmed report describing a particular process of killing the dog and naming young Huckabee as a participant was sent by fax machine this week by an organization against cruelty to animals to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. That report was described by Young and the governor as inaccurate.

Both men declined to say how the dog had been killed or who did it.

The dog was killed July 11 at Camp Pioneer near Hatfield. Only employees witnessed the incident. Not many of them were on hand, one source said.

Young said he chose not to reveal the names of the employees because “I just think that they’re due privacy. These are young people. They make mistakes occasionally, but I’m not covering for them.”

Young said the council’s board gives him the authority to take care of personnel decisions. He said the council believes it took appropriate action and the matter is closed. He said he did not report it to law enforcement authorities.

A source who asked to remain unnamed said David Huckabee, who turned 18 on July 22 and was 17 at the time of the incident, was one of those fired over it.

A reporter’s message left at the Governor’s Mansion for David Huckabee was not returned.

Danny Frady of Texarkana said his son, Clayton, 19, was the other staff member who was fired.

The elder Frady said his son told him he came upon one or more Scouts who had the dog “hung over a limb and choking” so the younger Frady helped “put it out of its misery.”

“I think the boy has paid his dues because he lost his job. He was one of the better counselors. He’s made a mistake, and he’s paid for it,” Danny Frady said. “I don’t think he did anything wrong to put an animal out of its misery.”

Danny Frady said killing a stray dog that has become a nuisance is common in rural areas. The mistake was doing it in front of other youth staff members, Frady said.

Young said the fired employees might be required to undergo counseling if they applied to be employees again. Danny Frady said he doesn’t think his son needs counseling because “he’s not cruel to animals.”

Polk County Sheriff Mike Oglesby said neither he nor his deputies had heard of the incident. A complaint should have been made, he said.

Prosecuting Attorney Tim Williamson of Mena said cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $ 1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. “We regularly charge cruelty to animals. That’s kind of my pet peeve,” he said.

Oglesby and Williamson said they didn’t intend to investigate because no one had lodged a complaint.

Camp Pioneer in Polk County served 2,026 campers for week-long stints from May 31 through July 25.

The camp employed 65 staff members. Caddo Area Council includes eight Arkansas counties and two Texas counties.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"24" Will Jack Bauer return or not in January?

Well as you can see Fox is saying it will return, but everywhere else I go, the talk is that due to the writer's strike, "24" will not be back in 2008.
So, will you be going into withdrawal if it doesn't come back?
A season without Jack? Ahrrrrrgghhhhh!!!!
So, tell me what you think and what is your favorite "Jack Bauer moment"?
I have too many, I can't think of just one!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

There is still hope for mankind!!

This morning there was a story in the local paper about a 10 year old boy who having excelled at school was given a $200 bicycle as a reward.
24 hours after getting the bike, it was stolen.
So, outraged, I called the mom and talked to her and the boy on the air live and let them tell the story. It was heart touching.
Shortly thereafter, I got a call from a listener who wanted to replace the bike immediately and wanted me to be the "go between" so that he could remain anonymous.
So, the end is, the boy will be getting a new bike before Christmas.
The boy goes to Highland and is from a poor family so this makes it that much more fun.
Great story and makes me so glad that there are still wonderful people out there!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Ok the couple above is no one I know, it is just an example. It is that time of year again. The time when I get all of those wonderful Christmas cards. Now I love and look forward to getting those cards but as usual I have a beef with some of them.
I don't know about you but I really hate the picture on the front cards. I don't care about your trip to Hawaii, Greece, Italy, France, Uganda wherever! Maybe my year kind of sucked and the neatest place I went was Otis, Oregon. How about a Nativity scene, angels, shepherds or just a star? Do I really need to see you and your wife and kids with their Rossginol skis standing on the mountain at Vail.

I also can't stand the "family letter".

"Little Bobby swam for the first time this summer at Marthas Vineyard and we are so happy for him, Sally is second in the state in Volleyball, Bob was promoted to head sanitation engineer and we bought a new house at the coast, as for me, well, I am just here typing this letter that I will then take down to Kinko's and make 100 copies of which will all end up in the landfill, so Season's Greetings from the Kowalski Family!"
I know it seems important to you, but again, how about telling me "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" on the front, and then hand sign the inside and put a neat Christmas seals stamp on the front.
That's all.

Ok so I expect to be called a "grinch" and "bah humbug" but really, be honest, do you really like those cards? Am I the only one that doesn't? Here is my b iggest problem: I see this as a continuance of our culture, it's not about Jesus, it's about "me, myself and I". I also see it as part of the "impersonality" of our culture. Copied letters versus a nice hand written greeting. Everyone's in a hurry. Please, send me a note that says "Bill, Colleen and Kai, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!". I will be very happy.

Signed, Bill Griswald

Friday, December 7, 2007

Today I met Living History!!!

Here is Don Malarkey during his time as a "Band of Brothers" in World War II.

On the right is Don recently with the actor who portrayed him in the HBO series "Band of Brothers". "ER" fans will recognize him as "Morris" the doctor in that series.

All I can say is...sometimes you meet up with history.

And that's Don Malarkey.

A member of the Band of Brothers profiled by Stephen Ambrose and then by the HBO special of the same name, Don Malarkey is an older man now, deaf from the four years of combat but with a clear eye, a fast wit, and a handshake that could crush a walnut.

Don sat with me for a half an hour for an interview on my radio show, and he's a simply remarkable character.

You look him in the eye and you can see that kid from Astoria who joined millions of his friends and neighbors and brothers to free the world from evil in 1945. You can imagine him in the hedgerows of Normandy and in the snow at Bastogne.

When he left us, he was striding confidently down that stairs, knowing just where he was going next...just like he did leading patrols 60 years ago.

It was an honor to meet him.

Below is a story from his experience in World War II as on of the “Brothers”.

The C-47 shook and rumbled over the ink black sea, pitching up and down as it careened recklessly towards the French shore. Its heavy wings vibrated, rattling loudly over the roar of the engines. Inside the plane men were getting ready to face the darkness, standing up, checking weapons, puking. The big plane was over land now and guts tightened.

Down below, sinister fingers of bright light reached up to grab the plane, holding it in its deadly grip. Angry tracers and their silent invisible partners ripped through the skies, the planes, and the men inside. Flak was bursting all around. The entire drop zone was alive with guns of all calibers, spitting their deadly venom skyward. The hard thumping of the flak bounced the plane, sending large chunks of shrapnel and smaller searing metal shards in all directions of the smoke filled sky. As soon as the jump light flashed green, the men did not hesitate to leap from the open door and fall from the sky.
Anything was better than this hell.

Don Malarkey was one of those men. Once out, he fell for what felt like an eternity through the smoke and the lethal metal fragments on this fateful morning of June 6th, 1944. Finally, his chute snapped open and the ground came up hard to greet him. High above him in the night sky were burning C-47 carcasses as they plummeted towards the ground filled with desperate men who had lived their last day.
Malarkey entered the European campaign unceremoniously in the wet darkness of the unseasonably cold June morning. His training had been superb and like the rest of his men he couldn’t wait to get into the action. But this wasn’t the plan. All of the planning and briefings failed to factor that the planes would be scattered from hell to breakfast from the flak, the confusion, and the carnage. Close by the guns of the vaunted Whermacht thumped away, sending their brilliant white tracers searching into the sky for more victims. Spotlights crisscrossed the sky searching for prey. The stench of gunpowder drifted low across the land hugging the ground and filling Malarkey’s nostrils with the vile smell.
Even if the plan had gone AWOL, Malarkey’s training had not. With the efficiency born of countless hours of training he squared away his chute and got himself ready for war. After all this man was Airborne and it was time to go to work. He pulled out his “cricket” and found that the wonder toy, soon to become synonymous with the Normandy Invasion, didn’t work. Feeling his way through the dark vegetation of the Norman countryside, Malarkey readied his weapon and began to move towards his objective, some obscure place referred to on the map only as “Causeway One and Two”. Even if he was the only guy left he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to get to that objective. Or die trying. As Malarkey groped his way forward he found himself in an orchard. He soon began to encounter other men who were scattered and separated from their teams. He was relieved when he found his pals Sergeants Bill Guarnere and Joe Toye. Soon they joined a small group of brothers from the 502nd. Realizing that they had to move through hostile countryside to reach their objective, the small force went on the alert and silently moved out.
It wasn’t long before the small force ran head long into a German re-supply effort delivering artillery shells to the fighting. The Whermacht enjoyed an unearned reputation for being highly mechanized. But the horse and wagons moving up the causeway were the real prime movers of a German Army that had advanced and then retreated through so many map points over the last three years. Unaware of the Americans, the small wagon column trotted right into the ambush. The Paratroopers made their move and the Germans were guaranteed they would never have to worry about being transferred to the Eastern front. Their war had just ended. There was no firing, just a startled raising of the hands followed by a nice orderly surrender. Malarkey marched the prisoners to a site off the road, his Thompson at the ready. As the prisoners were being disarmed and searched, Malarkey overheard one of the Germans talking in perfect english. He soon discovered the reason. Before heeding Hitler’s call to return to Germany, he had lived in the U.S. In fact he worked at the Monarch Steel Company in Portland, Oregon. Malarkey knew it well, since he worked across the street at Schnitzer Steel Mill. Small world.

The Germans were marched off and ordered to stay in the middle of the road with no exceptions. Suddenly a strafing plane flew low above them, its guns letting loose on unseen targets. Educated the hard way on the power of air supremacy, one of the Germans darted to a trench for protection and was promptly and unceremoniously shot. Just one example of the many Germans who would die all over Normandy this long and fateful day. The paratroops moved on, now warned to avoid the main road that ran the length of the invasion beaches as it was targeted for obliteration at 0600 by the guns of the big ships cruising just over the horizon.

You can’t know everything in a battle, but the battery of 105 mm howitzers dug in and well camouflaged seemed like a real miss for the boys in intelligence. Dug in three miles west of Utah beach, these guns were designed to lob shells at a high trajectory that maximized their impact. The 105 mm gun had done a lot of damage in this war. From Africa, Poland, Italy and the vast expanses of Russia, the weapon forged in the infamous furnaces of Krupp, had killed the sons of many mothers. And now it was thundering away at the vulnerable men on Utah and Causeways One and Two. Each deadly shell that crashed onto the beach sent hot metal shards and jagged chunks of beach shale in all directions, chewing up the exposed men as they scrambled to move inland.

If these four guns could get into an undisturbed rhythm, the results would be disastrous.

Dick Winters got the word that the Germans were raising hell on Utah with these big guns. Now the senior officer of Easy Company (because he had the good fortune to still be alive), Lt. Winters wasted no time pulling together a scratch force of twelve men to assault the position. Twelve was going to have to do since that was all that could be located from the company who had dropped earlier that morning. The rest were dead, missing, or scattered. Winters ordered his men to drop everything but their weapons and ammunition and move out, explaining his plan of attack as they moved. Don Malarkey, along with Sergeants Guarnere and Toye, were a welcome part of the team. After all they were from Easy Company, the battalions’ designated assault company. They would be sorely needed as all hell was about to break out.

Heavily camouflaged and hidden from the constant prying eyes of air reconnaissance, the guns of “Brecourt Manor” -as they would soon become known- were connected by an elaborate trench system and well protected by support troops. Some of which were manning deadly MG42’s. Tucked amongst the famous Norman hedgerows, Brecourt Manor was part of Le Grande-Chemin, a farm complex of four buildings that lent itself well as a forward artillery position. The efficiency of this well defended hornets nest was measured by the motionless men in olive drab uniforms that had earlier stumbled head-on before its ramparts. Moving towards the sound of the guns, the small band was able to get close enough to get a fix and move into position. 30 calibers were deployed as covering fire and mortars were brought up. However, the mortars were missing base-plates.

Malarkey crawled up to a hedge, pushed his way through the vegetation, and peered through. Not far in front of him he saw the outline of one of the 105’s dug in well under heavy camouflage netting. Winters had scratched together a plan and it was time to get into the war. In an orchard just outside of Brecourt, Winters ordered each man to line up and spray four clips into the general area of the gun positions. As the men fired away, Winters ordered Malarkey to cross the field to set up a defilade position. Taking a deep breath, Malarkey got ready to run. Just then the gravelly voice of Sgt. Buck Compton called him back. Compton makes the run himself, disappearing through the dense underbrush. Now the sixty man German garrison is alert and returning fire in all directions.

The war is on.

Malarkey breaks from the safety of his position, rolls down the opposite side of the embankment and lands in the German trench system. A few feet ahead of him a startled German defender takes off running down the long trench line. Malarkey pulls up his Thompson and prepares to fire, but the panicked soldier has gone around a bend in the trench. As Malarkey scrambles out of the trench he watches as the German soldier and another man wearing an officer’s cap break for the German safety of their own defensive line. The officer drops heavily from a shot to the head courtesy of Dick Winters. The accompanying soldier also falls to the ground clutching his back, also felled by Winters.

Malarkey is now in the open and running hard towards the first big gun. From their trench position the Germans are firing away, determined to defend their guns. Running hard, Malarkey sprays the area in front of him with automatic weapons fire, kicking up dirt and showering the defenders. He grabs a fragmentation grenade from his web belt and puts his finger on the pin ring. A German defender runs away, his helmeted head bobbing up and down with the hope of living a little while longer. Malarkey slides under the gun like a baseball player stealing home. He lands next to the lifeless body of a former member of the greater Reich. Now the frantic enemy is alert and fully pissed off. White hot bullets are pinging against the gun and tearing up the ground searching for the paratrooper. Returning fire, Malarkey tucks up under the gun behind the dead German and returns fire. Everywhere there is the sound of war as the bursts of gunfire merge with the screams of men desperately fighting to survive the carnage. As Malarkey returns fire he looks out into the field where the dead Germans are lying.

Beside the officer is a black leather case. Malarkey’s eyes narrow. He imagines that inside the case is the one thing he covets most from this war, an officers Luger. To this day he can’t say what got into him. But he will tell you that the need to get his hands on one of those pistols was enough to pull himself out of the scant protection of the trench and into the naked pasture that was anything but serene. An MG42 can fire 900 rounds a minute and there were several among the sixty-man defense crew deployed to defend the big guns. In the insanity of battle the most ridiculous of sights can have a curious effect on the combatants. Malarkey running in to the field in search of his long desired prize could only be rationalized by the Germans as a medic committed to helping out one of their wounded men. So the guns stopped firing in his direction long enough to grab his “prize” and it was out in the middle of god’s creation, naked and defenseless that Malarkey realized that he was holding the empty case to the 105 gun site. A good officer can be heard over almost anything and this was certainly the case for Malarkey as he heard Winters voice shouting over the chaos of war to get his ass back to the trench. Running for his life the Germans made a furious attempt to pick him off as he ran through a hailstorm of dirt and debris all around him. He knew he’d be hearing about it for a long time afterwards if he managed to survive this battle.

As he dove out of breath under the gun, the bullets followed after him kicking the hell out of everything around him. Sergeant Guarnere’s voice was calling him from the other side of the hedgerow. As Malarkey reached him, Guarnere’s strong arms pulled him though the brush to relative safety.

Working their way back to Winters, the men encountered a small group of prisoners being held by part of the squad. Just as the men arrived, Cleveland O. Petty, who was manning a 30 caliber during the assault, walked up to the first prisoner and smashed him in the mouth with the brass knuckles on his 1918 trench knife, sending him crashing to the ground. Buck Compton jumps in and threatens a court martial, trying to maintain order amongst the killing. As the assault on the second gun continues, Winters orders Malarkey to take the left flank and set up a 30 caliber for covering fire. By this point the battle was moving away from him and his contribution to it’s success has been guaranteed. The last thing Don Malarkey did in that battle was to fire a few mortar rounds in the general direction of Brecourt Manor.

Three of the guns were destroyed that day in what has become a text book example of a frontal assault against a fixed position. In 1984 Don Malarkey went back to Brecourt Manor and met with its owner. He walked over and pointed out large shrapnel marks on the wall. “This is where your mortar round landed” the farmer said in his thick French accent. Malarkey walked over and touched the wall still damaged after all these years. His fingers traced the scars and he smiled.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting our Priorities Straight

Last night I went to my parent's new home and watched the "little" creek running in the back yard turned into a raging brown river about 150 feet across.
I watched my nearly 70 year old parents look on as the "river" raged 3 feet from the dining room window and saw the pain in their faces.
Why did I title this "priorities"? My "priority" yesterday was taking care of some what were really stupid things around my house and took a nap while my dad nearly broke his back loading and unloading sand bags in the pouring rain. I didn't realize the danger that they were in.
I see now that sometimes what seems important to me is really pretty unimportant.
Their house is ok, they are ok, but God has shown me once again, my selfishness.
God forgive me.