(For this heart-warming story, I graciously thank Sydney.)
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.
She had to repeat the words several times
before the patient's eyes opened.
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine who was standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night, the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.
He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital ~ the clanking of the oxygen tank..the laughter of the night staff members who were exchanging greetings...the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then, she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing...only held tightly to his son all through the night. Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he'd been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her. “Who was that man?” he asked. The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered. “No, he wasn't,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”
“Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?”
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.
“I came here tonight to find Mr. William Gray. His son was...killed in Iraq today and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman's Name?”
The nurse, with tears in her eyes answered, “Mr. William Gray......
Message to Mankind: The next time someone needs you...just be there. Stay!
We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.
This is what we are put on this Earth to do anyway.
“More Than a Name on the Wall”
The lyrics of this song tell of a mother walking up to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located in Washington, DC and finding her son's name on the Memorial Wall. She talks to God, telling Him how much she misses her boy and what he meant to her. John Rimel and Jimmy Fortune wrote these words in 1988. At the time, Fortune was singing tenor with The Statler Brothers and they recorded it in 1989. Their rendition became a big hit with the Virginia group and in 1990, it was named ~
The Top Country Music Single of the year.
Now retired, The Statler Brothers had a weekly television program which I diligently watched. A few months ago, they appeared on Gaither Gospel Hour with their “Farewell Concert” after a 39 year career... and sang this song...“a moving tribute to our servicemen who keep our country free.”
I saw her from a distance as she walked up to the wall ~
In her hand she held some flowers as her tears began to fall.
And she took out pen and paper as to trace her memories
and she looked up to heaven and the words she said were these:
She said, “Lord, my boy was special and he meant so much to me...
and Oh, I'd love to see him just one more time, you see.
All I have are the memories and the moments to recall.
So, Lord, could you tell Him, he's more than a name on the wall?
She said he really missed the family and being home on Christmas Day
and he died for God and country in a place so far away.
I remember, just a little boy playing war since he was three;
But Lord, I know this time...he's not coming home to me.
And she said, “Lord, my boy was special and he meant so much to me
and Oh, I'd love to see him...but I know it just can't be.
So I thank you for my memories and the moments to recall.
But Lord, could you tell him...he's more than a name on the wall?”
“Lord, could you tell him...
He's more than a name on the wall?”
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC honours US service members of the United States Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War and those who died in service in Vietnam, South East Asia and the service members who were unaccounted for (missing in action during the war?).
Merle Baird-Kerr...written September 10, 2014
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