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Over hill, over dale

Friday, December 7, 2007

Isaiah 29:20-21
The tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off -
those whose mere word condemns a man,
who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.

Six years ago on Friday, December 7, 2001 my father and mother visited us, and we attended a special Pearl Harbor Day concert, presented by the Urbana High School Concert Band. Andi played flute in the band, which played a set of patriotic songs and arrangements. At the end of the evening the band played the official marching songs for each of the U.S. armed forces, and the old soldiers stood up, one by one, during the songs played for them.

Of course I remember the Army's song, "The Caissons Go Rolling Along." The notes struck the air, and my dad stood. It was difficult for him to stand. His back was bowed, and he leaned on a cane.

You can see, of course, his smile. We were very happy that night, and I have no doubt he was happiest of all. The battles he fought during World War II seemed both then and now to be so crucial to protecting the right of families like ours to live and grow and multiply, to celebrate and worship and rejoice together.

Dad died a little less than a year later, on Thanksgiving Day 2002. He lived to be eighty. He lived to become a peacemaker in his community, an elder in his church, and a hero to those of us who knew him best. Today I'm more thankful than ever for what he fought for, and for him.

You alone, Lord, give us direction for our righteousness. We depend on you. You alone are holy, you alone are good. So we praise you, we worship you. Give us ears to hear you, Lord.

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