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The dedication page for my new book, O Me of Little Faith, reads:
John and Mary Boyett and John and Cleta Brown,
who despite incredible hardships have maintained a strong,
inspiring faith and passed it along to the rest of us.
Today is Memorial Day. I don’t personally know anyone who died in a war, but my grandparents certainly do. Briefly, in the book, I discuss John Boyett’s capture and captivity over Austria during World War II, and the year he spent as a prisoner of war. When my granddad’s plane was shot down, most of my his buddies died.
What doesn’t get mentioned in the book is that my maternal grandfather, John Brown, was in the Marines in World War II, serving as a military policeman in South Asia. And my wife’s grandparents served in the Navy during those years.
They have known many who gave their lives in defense of our country. So on Memorial Day, I think of my grandparents, and the significant number of friends and family they have lost.
It’s not a bad time, either, to reflect on the blessing on my own life. If you know my granddad’s captivity story, you know that there were multiple times when he should have died — whether while falling out of an exploding bomber, being shot at by the machine gun of a Nazi fighter plane, while suffering in a Nazi prison camp or while being forced into a months-long death march prior to his escape.
My granddad shouldn’t have made it home from the War. That he didn’t die in 1943 and 1944 is miraculous (at least, that’s how my family views it). My father wasn’t born until after the War, so the fact that we Boyetts exist at all — from my parents to my own children — doesn’t escape me this time of year. Based on the odds, we shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be here.
But I am, and I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for my grandparents’ faith and sacrifice and service. I’m thankful that, on Memorial Day, I don’t have to remember them…but can actually enjoy a hamburger in their backyard. Which I plan to do this afternoon.
That’s a blessing.