Remember, Not All the Heroes Come Home

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Towards the end of the Viet Nam war, I was in high school and worked part-time in the Navy Exchange store at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C. You might not think of a hospital as a place full of heroes, but let me tell you, NNMC was.

Throughout the time I worked during the war, the thump-thump-thump of rotary blades atop approaching military hospital transports was a sound I heard on a regular basis. Incoming.

By the time the helicopter landed on the heli-pad, several of us had run outside to stand on the pad’s perimeter; our silent presence welcoming the wounded to the hospital.

We watched doctors and nurses hustle gurneys to the helicopter, load the wounded, and rush them inside.

I seriously doubt those wounded warriors knew anyone cared enough to be present when they arrived, praying for them, thanking them, appreciating their sacrifice.

To those of us keeping vigil, it didn’t matter if the soldiers knew we were there, or not. For me what mattered was the fact I made the effort to show my appreciation for their sacrifice.

Among other things available to military personnel and their dependents, of which I was one thanks to my father’s military service, the Medical Center housed a theater where for twenty-five cents you could watch some really awful movies. What a deal. Definitely not first-run, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, that didn’t keep Sissy, my girlfriends, and me from showing up.

To get to the theater we walked the hospital corridors. I’m sure you’ve walked through a hospital, so you get the idea, but these corridors were filled with wounded personnel on stretchers, in wheelchairs, or walking the halls; bandaged from one part of their body to the next, making their way to the theater.

These men paid a heavy price for the freedom I enjoyed.

That included the freedom to walk down the same corridors they walked to watch really awful movies for twenty-five cents.

It also included the freedom to walk back down those same corridors and out that hospital at the end of the movie while they made their way back to hospital rooms that became their new normal.

In this country we have days set aside to remember the sacrifices our military and their families made so we can enjoy our hamburgers, watermelon, and pool parties.

Sometimes we might pause and remember those service personnel, or maybe even say, “thank you” on those set-aside holidays. But what if we made it a habit to remember, honor, pray for, and thank our military every day, realizing not all the heroes come home?

On this July 4th, Independence Day here in the States, will you join me in honoring those who give their all, so the rest of us don’t have to?

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When your people go out to fight their enemies along some road on which you send them, your people will pray to you, facing this city which you have chosen and the Temple I have built for you. Then hear in heaven their prayers, and do what is right. 2 Chronicles 6:34-35 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Final Victory

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Yesterday, May 8, was the anniversary of Victory in Europe May 8, 1945. Although V-E Day was a major victory, it wasn’t until September 2, 1945 World War II officially ended with V-J Day and the formal surrender of Japan. As the people in Europe celebrated their liberation from the enemy, I believe at the back of their mind they realized there was still a final victory yet to come.

While I contemplated the significance of those two days in history, I considered the major victories Christians have through our Savior Jesus Christ that lead up to the final victory over the enemy the day God tells his Son, it’s time. Go get your bride.

We are grateful for the liberation from God’s enemy, but we realize there is still a final victory yet to come.

Jesus’ death for the sins of the world, his resurrection and defeat of hell, sin, Satan and death, his return to his throne in heaven-where he sits at the right hand of his Father and  prepares a place for believers to live with him as he awaits the day of his return-are victories that will culminate in the grand, final defeat of Satan. Glory hallelujah!

Although it was a major victory, V-E Day was not the end to World War II. Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension were major victories, but not the end of the spiritual war. That victory is yet to come. But it will come.

While we wait for the Final Victory, let’s not grow weary in doing good.

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Then I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse is called Faithful and True, and he is right when he judges and makes war. His eyes are like burning fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him, which no one but himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and clean, were following him on white horses. Out of the rider’s mouth comes a sharp sword that he will use to defeat the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will crush out the wine in the winepress of the terrible anger of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his upper leg was written this name: king of kings and lord of lords. Revelation 19:11-16 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Gratitude Not Unforgiveness

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Thanksgiving is only a few days away.

With the day often comes family and friends. For some that is a good thing. For others it isn’t.

While some folks celebrate the day with gratitude and thankfulness, some folks spend the time together in unforgiveness rehashing past transgressions, wounds and hurts.

When I taught elementary school one thing I liked to do as a pre-Thanksgiving craft was have each child spread out the fingers of their hand and trace around them.

If you use your imagination, this looks like a turkey. Construction paper feathers of multiple colors were glued to the four fingers. An eye was drawn on the thumb, or turkey’s face. On each feather was written a different thing the child was thankful for. These turkeys were presented to family members on Thanksgiving Day.

Might I suggest instead of coming to Thanksgiving with thoughts of unforgiveness in our hearts, we make hand turkeys and fill them with thoughts of gratitude to distribute to those we’ll spend Thursday with?

Is there a special way you show your gratitude to those in your life?

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Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:12-13 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Full Armor of God

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you have even the slightest interest in space exploration and America’s space flight history, and have the opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, I strongly suggest you go.

Pilot, his father, and our son, Pie, all have ties to America’s space flight history and I couldn’t be prouder. I’ve been privileged to meet numerous astronauts and have my own very small part in the adventure. I guess you could say space excites me.

On a recent visit to the Kennedy Space Center, one thing that especially caught my attention was the astronaut suit display. This was not my first time examining the Pumpkin Suit, as it is called. I’ve seen it many times before but this was the first time I made a spiritual connection with the suit and the armor of God.

Boots : Heat resistant, strong but flexible, allowed astronauts to run if necessary.

Astronaut class badge: Designated which class the astronaut was a part of by year.

The bright color orange: Used because it stood out so well against any background.

Gloves: Textured to allow astronauts to throw switches, push buttons, and turn knobs.

Helmet: Connected to suit via a locking metal ring. Contained all communication equipment needed to talk to each other and mission control during launch and landing. Heavy reflective tape on outside aided in search and rescue.

Helmet Visor: Provided a large enough field of vision to see front and sides. Sunshade could be brought down to block the sun’s glare.

Personal pocket 1: Used for various personal items such as glasses, medicine, a watch, calculator, note pads, pencils, personal photos.

Personal pocket 2: Carry anything that fit there, mostly pens.

Right leg survival gear pouch: Radio with 24-hour battery, earphones, spare antenna, motion sickness pills, signal mirror visible up to 40 miles away, one survival mitten.

Left leg survival gear pouch: Strobe light visible up to 50 miles away, two glow sticks, flare kit with seven cartridges, one survival mitten.

Just as the astronauts suit-up with the equipment especially designed for their missions in space, Paul tells us in Ephesians we are to suit-up with the Armor of God to be equipped for our missions here on earth.

I know there are other comparisons that can be made regarding uniforms designed to protect the wearer, but this was the one that came to mind while I was at Kennedy.

What other uniform comparisons come to your mind?

They aren't called Pumpkin Suits because they make you look thin, you know.

It isn’t called a Pumpkin Suit because it makes you look thin, you know.

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In conclusion be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armour so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Above all be sure you take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you. Pray at all times with every kind of spiritual prayer, keeping alert and persistent as you pray for all Christ’s men and women. Ephesians 6:11-18 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts is scheduled to appear on Christian Devotions September 21, 2015. Please stop by and check it out.

Prepare To Be Ready

p-51 Moton Field, AL cpyrightedBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

My research into the Tuskegee Airmen recently took me to Internet Archives Digital Library, and a fifteen minute video tribute. I found the video fascinating. Once again I was impressed with the sacrifices men and women in the various military services of the United States have given for this country, and what they have accomplished through their efforts.

Thank you one and all.

Near the end of the internet video, General Chappie James said:

“Freedom must be re-purchased by every new generation. Prepare yourself so that when your Tuskegee appears, you will be ready.”

Prepare yourself to be ready for your Tuskegee. Your opportunity. Your moment to shine. The dream God has dreamed for you.

I expect my Tuskegee looks different from yours. My Tuskegee involves me being prepared to write what God wants me to write, send it where I think he wants it to be published, and get it in front of the people I believe he wants it in front of.

Some of you reading this post are also writers. You know what I’m talking about.

Some of you may be preparing to venture out into new areas in your careers, or relationships, or ministries. You’ve done your homework. Prepared yourself. Got your ducks in a row, as my mother would say. You’re ready.

Prepare yourself so that when your Tuskegee appears, you will be ready.

Sounds good, but how might one go about doing that?

Bing imagesFor me, I believe no matter what is around the corner, we need to be grounded in God’s word. Seek to know his will. Strive to please him above all others.

It took fourteen years before God moved David from shepherd to king, but when the time finally came, David was prepared for his Tuskegee.

Just as the Airmen needed to understand their equipment and study their manuals, so do we. We need to be studying God’s word DAILY. Not just once a week. We need to listen to Godly counsel. Pay attention to the things God’s showing in his world that he wants us to apply to our lives.

It won’t do any good for someone to read an instruction manual, sit in on class lectures, study weather charts and navigation, then turn around and forget all that information once they get into a plane. That plane’s not gonna’ fly.

Pilots can fly airplanes because they’ve trained and studied the flight manuals. We can navigate life and be prepared for what’s around the corner because we have studied our manual – the Bible.

I pray each of us is ready when our Tuskegee comes. Ready for the dream God has dreamed for us.

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Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.” Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means. 2 Timothy 2:15 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Tell a Veteran Thanks

My dad (the one w/ the puppy)
proudly served in the Navy during
WWII

Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who are serving, and who have served, in our military. Thank you very much for your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of your families.

I’ve mentioned before that my father served in the US Navy, and was on board a ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when it was bombed on December 7, 1941. My dad didn’t talk much about his experiences in the war. Although I wish he had, I understand why he didn’t.

I asked my niece’s son, who served in Afghanistan, if he ever talked about his war experiences. No. Only with those who’d been there. I get it. How can anyone who hasn’t been there truly understand what it was like for you to go through what you went through?

There were a few things my dad did tell me. He told me how difficult it was to watch the buddy he fought next to get killed, while Dad was physically, unscathed. He told me how he walked into a restaurant, and someone he knew was shocked. They’d heard Dad’s ship was destroyed. It was, but Dad had been tendered to another ship, to take over for their deceased gunner, before Dad’s ship was hit. My father told me how much it hurt to come back to the States, the country he’d proudly fought and sacrificed for, to see a sign in front of a business that said, Sailors and dogs keep off the grass.

He put his life on the line for this?Keep off the grassRight now, I’m researching the Tuskegee Airmen, and their contributions to winning the Double Victory. These men and women, like Dr. Bickham and Mr. Alston, Sr. who have helped me with my research, made sacrifices to defeat Hitler overseas, and Jim Crow at home. They returned to the States to face much worse than signs telling them to keep off the grass. (Please join me in praying for Mr. Alston’s family, at his passing this week.)

And here’s where Jesus comes in. Jesus left his throne in glory to come to this earth as a man, to fight for us. To win the victory over sin for us. He endured all things we as humans endure, to pay the price for our freedom from Satan’s claws of death. Jesus knew the joys. The pains. The prejudices. The humiliation. The betrayal. The love. The loss.

pathwayWhile I can sympathize and get upset about the unfair treatment others face, unless I’ve walked a mile in their moccasins, I cannot truly comprehend the raw emotions and pain events in their lives cause. But Jesus can. He won the victory. He is the conqueror. His death and resurrection bought our freedom. Praise God.

It’s obvious, of course, that he (Jesus) didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed. Hebrew 2:16-18 (MSG)

 

scarvesKnow a veteran? Tell them thanks. Even better, join Sissy and me, as we create knitted Knit Your Bit Scarvesand crocheted scarves to donate to VA Centers across the US. Here is a link for info on the National WWII Museum’s Knit Your Bit campaign.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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