Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Be Afraid For the Terror

('m sorry....I have worked on this over and over but it just won't let me format it correctly. Please forgive how it looks. I know it's not easy to read like this!)

September 11, 2001. I remember it well. The day was warm, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and things were quiet here on our north Mississippi farm. I had already started cooking our dinner that day when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was one of my good friends in North Carolina. The first words out of her mouth were, "Do you have your TV on?" When I answered, "No", she told me that terrorists had sabotaged the Twin Towers of the Trade Center in New York. My first thought was, "Terrorists?" I wasn't even sure if I knew what that meant. Nevertheless, it did strike fear in my heart. I turned on the TV and tried to finish cooking dinner while at the same time keeping my eyes glued to the TV. It seemed the news just got worse and worse.

Instead of being a minor incident, this was a major catastrophe for the United States. Many people had been killed. Many more were missing. People all over the land were praying. After the dust started settling, I was better able to understand why we called the people who had done this to us, "terrorists", for certainly they had brought Terror to our land. ("Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet." Job 18:11)

We saw in this horrible event just how quickly a normal, sunshiny day can turn into a dark, despicable disaster. But we should also remember that God knows our life from beginning to end. He knows what will happen tomorrow and the next day and the day after that! And He's there to walk beside us no matter where the road leads.

As Christians, we can take comfort in the verses found in Psalm 91:1-6 ("He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.")

Many things have changed and will never be the same since that fateful day seven years ago. Our oldest son John joined the Marine Corps in October of 2001. He would see two , mostly miserable, tours in Iraq in the years that followed. He endured many things, did many things, and saw many things that men should never have to endure, do, or see. As he was leaving Iraq after his first tour of duty was over, I was overjoyed to find an email from him in my inbox after weeks of knowing he was in the middle of the battle but unable to hear from him. This is what it said:


Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2003 7:29 AM

Subject: RE: We love you

Hello my loving family:

Praise God for his mercy endureth forever! I am back on the ship as of today. Not a scratch on my body. I cannot even explain what it feels like to not be worried about the next burst of AK fire, but it feels better than anything in a long time. I will give you some numbers. 33 days without having water on my body to wash with. 47 days without a shower. 73 days sleeping on the ground, outside. Tonight I will sleep in a bed! 47 days with only MRE's to eat. Boy do the little things in life get BIG. I am tired so I am gonna go. We get libo in the next 2 days so I will be talking to you.


Your "now safe" Marine son


Although he made it home the first time injury free, he was seriously wounded in September of 2004, just before his second tour of duty in Iraq was over….hit in the head, shoulder and side with shrapnel from an enemy IED. He was flown out of Iraq and into Germany where he underwent brain surgery. Many, many prayers were sent up for our son and by God's grace, he is alive today.

I dedicate today's post to our son John. He was always my protector when he was a child and teenager at home. He's the one I depended on to change my flat tires and kill the snakes! He was a great Marine machine-gunner….he made Sergeant just before he left the USMC. As is true of any soldier who has been in combat for extended periods of time, John will never be the same person he was before he went to war. There are memories that can never be erased. There are burdens that are hard to be borne. There are pains from the injuries that are sometime unbearable. As Americans, we owe a lot to our veterans. John has my respect and my unconditional love for as long as I live.

Today if you see someone you know is a Veteran….tell them Thank You ! It will mean a lot to them!

God bless America!



elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Thank your son on my behalf. Our community houses Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, so we are well familiar with military families and their many needs.

I'm so humbled that anyone would go on my behalf and stand in the gap for my safety and for the world's. He has my honor and respect in this week of remembrance.


Joyful said...

Beautiful Marilyn. Please tell your son 'thank you' for the selfless surrender he made to serve his country.

I remember that day very well. I had walked my son to school and was home cleaning - didn't have the radiio or TV on. A girlfriend of mine called me around noon and she was the first to inform me of what had happened. Not wanting to frighten my son I didn't say anything about the events until he was back at school and then I turned on the television. It will be a day of visuals I will always remember.

Thanks for the reminder today that our trust is in God.

Love & prayers,

Leah said...

Thank you, John, from the bottom of my heart for your service to our country!! You are my hero!!God bless you!!


De'on Miller said...

Tears. My throat, nearly stuck.

I will never forget that day.

And I will never forget those who have and continue to fight so that God willing, we will never have another September 11.

My Psalm 91 is marked all over in the Bible I used then. The name "Harrell" is most prominent.

Please tell that John of mine that I love him. That I am so grateful to him and if there'd be any way possible, I'd take all his pain and make it my own.

I know I can't do that, but I do know that the sacrifice is forever. The sacrifice extends far beyond that of a casket... I do so love each one of those Marines that Aaron loved. They mean so much to me.

I will be grateful to all of them all the days of my life and I know God has a plan for their sacrifice and sorrow.

They are heroes. We sent them as babies and in their loyalty, they come home with a "few less parts" but I believe in that place, there are parts of hurt and sorrow that can never be fixed here, but this I know, it was out of love.

God says the Greatest of All Gifts is the gift of love.

These men know love like no other and I pray for them with my heart, soul, with words I can utter and with other words unknown to anyone but God.

I pray this moment for John's family. I know he is as proud of that family as you are of him.

And I know there's more than one smiling face in heaven looking down at that forever, precious Marine.

God bless you, yours, His and God bless America. Land that I love!

Because of God we know freedom. Because of men like your son, we are able to keep it.

We are supposed to pray for our enemies and I do, so God, please take into Your mighty hands those that would steal it from us and those who would give it away.

I love you all so very much!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your sending your blog along - it brought back memories of
that day in 2001, and they were indeed memories of anger, confusion,
frustration and all that goes with it.

Thank your son for me for his service - and thank God that he is home
and safe. No he will never be the same - but then the Marines and war
change everything.

Blessings - J.

[Major - USMC (ret)]

Pen to Paper; Spirit to Soul said...

Marilyn, I do want to say Thank you to John for all that he was willing to sacrifice. But, as an Army wife for over 7 yrs of marriage, this was not just a sacrifice for him.

So, with that said, THANK YOU to Marilyn and your husband for raising a fine young man that was so willing to sacrifice all that he had for our country.

Sharon said...

My love to you, Benny, John and your whole family as always. After 4 tours in Iraq, and nearly a year spent in learning to deal with unexploded ordnance, our son Ryan is preparing to head back overseas again, this time to Japan for two years. I know he'll be deployed out into the field again and again from this posting, and it scares me nearly to death. But this is his choice - the price of perhaps saving the lives of others is worth the sacrifices he has made and will make again. The great and wondrous thing about our country is that it's not just your John and my Ryan - it's thousands of young men and women who can see beyond themselves to a greater good. I'm proud to be an American, and I'm so proud to be the mom of a Marine!

Jana said...

John and all of the other soldiers are TRUE heros. Our thanks to them all.