These days of preparation for our son’s One Soldier Story: A Tennessean in WWII have been sweet. On Tuesday, when Ray and I ran by to get the key for tonight’s presentation in Cookeville, a mother whose children have been in our daughter’s plays told me they were going to try to come. A few minutes later, I went into the grocery store to get things for our precious guests. I ran into the wife of the youth minister who was serving at the church where Ray was minister in Cookeville. She told me that they were hoping to come. Yesterday at breakfast Ray told me that the son of a friend of Ray’s dad was planning to see one of the presentations. Later that morning I got a text from a friend who has moved away who said she and her family were planning to come to one, too.
I have many reasons to feel gratitude:
- Ray and I get to spend time with our son and his family.
- We got to spend precious years with Ray’s godly father, Wesley Biddle Notgrass.
- People who have known Ray’s dad and our family are honoring us with their presence.
- The story John tells is a powerful one that we all need to hear.
- American citizens and the citizens of many other countries sacrificed so that people didn’t have to live any longer under the oppression of Adolph Hitler.
- Americans are honoring good things that Americans accomplished in the past.
- Americans are having the opportunity to learn from the past so that we will make good choices in the future.
- Our son John’s willingness to do this has the potential to make a positive impact on the future.
Last Sunday after church in Lexington, Ray and I had lunch with two couples we were close to when we lived there in the mid-1970s. We talked about what John was planning to do this week. They wanted a link to the online presentation so they could watch it, too. We talked about how Americans remember World War II and about how Europeans remember it.
Many years after D-Day, Ray’s dad and stepmom went on a European tour. One stop was the beaches of Normandy. Some French citizens were visiting the beaches that day, too. The tour guide told the French visitors that Wes was one of the American soldiers who landed there. They sang to Wes to show him their appreciation.
On Sunday our friend Stan talked about how Americans have never experienced war in the way that Europe has. We had our devastating 9/11, but those horrible events were on one day. Not since the Civil War has America suffered year after year in city after city like one country after another did under Hitler’s regime.
As I listened to Stan, I remembered Wes. Wes said that while he was experiencing the war in Europe, he prayed again and again: “God, please don’t let this happen in America.”
Thank You, God, for answering the prayers of one citizen soldier.
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
One Soldier’s Story: A Tennessean in World War II
Today in Gainesboro and Cookeville, Tennessee
Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day! For those of you who live near Columbia, Gainesboro, or Cookeville, Tennessee, we hope you can join us at one of the One Soldier’s Story presentations listed below. Admission is free to all performances. And for those of you who live too far away, here’s that link again to view it online.
This Morning, Thursday, June 6 — 75th Anniversary Performance
Gainesboro Church of Christ
313 S. Murray Street
Tonight, Thursday, June 6 — 75th Anniversary Performance
Peachtree Learning Center
402 North Walnut Avenue