5/20/2020 10:11:53 AM
Wednesday, May 20
Pastor’s Memo: The nation is in debt to many millions of women and men who served in the United States' armed forces. From before we were a country, Americans fought and died on this nation's soil and across the globe. Early on they were all volunteers. They came from every walk of life. They were young and old, married and single, rich and poor. They were farmers and merchants, tradesmen and tinkers, school teachers and illiterates. The Great Melting Pot of America is found in the ranks of those who fought and died to gain and then preserve what we know as The United States of America. God Bless them all. As Memorial Day draws near let's remember them all. Some ten years ago the Jamestown UMC honored its high school graduating seniors. I think there were seven or eight. Each was named and invited to the chancel area to receive a small token from the church. Each was applauded and given an opportunity to say a word or two about their plans for the future and the entire congregation cheered them on. There was one more whose name was called. Lennie Behler. Now almost eighty-five years old, he left Jimtown High School, lied about his age, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. It was 1943. He served in the South Pacific and returned home at the end of the war. He didn't go back to school. He didn't get a GED or go to college. He became a stone/brick mason. He married his high school sweetheart, Lil, and for the next 60 years he made a life for himself and Lil in Jimtown. On that Sunday ten years ago, when his name was called, Lennie rose from his pew at the very back of the church, and slowly made his way up the aisle. As he drew nearer the chancel, the congregation applauded and stood and they stayed on their feet for a very long time. All Lennie could do was stand there and wipe tears from his eyes. Lil came to stand with him and oh, what a glorious moment it was. When the applause was silenced, all Lennie said, as he held the graduation gift we gave him was "Thank you." And a new round of applause began and continued until he returned to his pew at the very back of the sanctuary. That afternoon, at Jimtown High School's commencement ceremony, Lennie would, at last, receive his high school diploma. I wasn't there, but I'm sure there was another standing ovation and plenty of tears. Thanks to Lennie and to all his comrades and to those who now serve all over the face of the earth. God Bless you all. We remember and pay tribute to those who gave their all. May they rest in peace.