Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Father's Honor Flight

When I was 17, a man named Bill married my mother. I had known him for years, because he was the father of one of my dearest friends. He saw my mother one day and asked me if I thought she would want to go on a date. I said, "NO." Three weeks later, they married.



When Bill was 17, he volunteered to join the U.S. Coast Guard. A short time later he was headed for the Pacific Islands to join the armada as part of the invasion of Okinawa. By God's grace he came home safely, leaving behind fallen comrades, returning to live in the free world he fought to protect. Bill raised three girls - now my sisters. He worked hard with his hands and built things, never forgetting the sacrifices of the other men who didn't return home.
Bill is a gentle man with big strong hands, and arms that encircle with re-assuring hugs. At church he serves as a greeter, where he has been renamed, Hugger Bill. His embraces are testimonies of the great love God has for us -- a love Bill also shares verbally, and freely with anyone who will listen.


In May, At 88 years old, Bill joined other WW2 Veterans on an Honor Flight to visit the memorial in Washington, D.C. He had this to say about one part of his visit:
" So much death surrounded us at Arlington Cemetery I could feel it. But I found life -- a high point for me in all of this -- at the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. To see a soldier parading and showing respect for the unknown fallen ones overwhelmed me. To me, this was life in the middle of all that death. I respected those soldiers who were a different breed of men, such authority, such discipline, so beautiful."
 "They fought together as brothers-in-arms. They died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation." ~Admiral Chester A. Nimitz

After returning home from the Honor Flight, Bill was invited to a celebration. The night before, he could not sleep. You see, he had received new orders from his Commander. Bill knew the next day would be a matter of life and death for some of his comrades. There were over 300 people in attendance. Bill maneuvered to the podium and requested an opportunity to speak. He was allotted THIRTY SECONDS. Bill boldly stepped up to the microphone:
" I need to tell you something very important.  You are all old guys and won't live here much longer.  But you will live either in heaven or in hell and I for one really don't want to see any of you go to hell - that's a terrible place to go. I read the book."  
He continued to map out the path to heaven through Jesus. My mother remarked that all were so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. These men, who defended our country when they were young, were there with canes and with walkers and in wheel chairs. They were from all parts of the service.  Many of them were over 90 years old. One man spent three years in a tank in Patton's army.
They all received their travel orders to the next place via Bill.



"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Roman's 10:9
Hats off to you, Bill Cowper



I love you!


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10 comments:

  1. Beautiful tribute, Becky. And to Bill--thank you for your continued service.

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  2. Awww, Becky this is so great!! Love your tribute for your Dad~~~

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  3. Awww...so precious! It's a lovely tribute to Bill :) Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you!

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  4. Hi Becky! This is my first visit to you blog.

    What a beautiful job you did in describing your relationship with your 'new' Dad. I can just see a young you answering NO! to the dating question. Good think he wasn't deterred! I hope he will have a chance to see this tribute.

    Peace in Christ,
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ceil,
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Welcome.

      Yes, it is very good that he did not listen to me. T

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  5. Bill sounds like an amazing man - and father! Glad he didn't listen to you when you said he couldn't date your mom!
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me Too! Thanks for the kind comment, Kelly.

      Delete

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My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

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Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

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I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

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I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

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My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

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My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

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I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

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One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

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And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

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If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

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Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

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My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

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