In Memory of Our God and Our Children

In Memory of Our God and Our Children

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

In Memory of Our God

and Our Children

And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it— In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

Alma 46:12

It is not a surprise that during the teen years many youth challenge family values and become somewhat rebellious. We were relieved when our youngest son finished high school and enlisted in the Marine Corps. When he reenlisted, we felt the joy of knowing he had some direction in his life.

While in the Marines, our son was ordained an elder. He also got married during that time, and has become a responsible father.

When his second tour of duty was completed, he and his wife decided to return home, where he could begin a career and they could create permanent roots. Expecting their second child and seeking ways to financially support his family, he signed up for the reserves and registered for college.

I will never forget the empty feeling I experienced a few months later when the phone rang.

“Dad, I have been called up,” he told me. “I am going to Iraq. I need a priesthood blessing.” In that blessing, he was promised that if he lived the gospel, he would return home safe.

We felt some relief as a result of that blessing, knowing our son was headed for the uncertainties of a war in Iraq. When his mother questioned, in maternal desperation, why he had to go, he responded in a way that surprised both of us.

“I am going in memory of our God, our religion and our freedom,” he told us, “our wives and our children.” In the back of my mind I rejoiced in the fact that our son remembered family values and had recalled family discussions and teachings.

While he was in Iraq, his group was camping just outside Baghdad, where he was washing his clothes. Trucks were passing by. He was hanging his shirt on a clothesline when someone shouted, “Hit the dirt!”

When it was safe and the sniper had been removed, he found two bullet holes in the shirt he had just hung up to dry.

As I write this, I glance at that shirt. It has become our new trophy. I realize our boy had become his parents’ hero. When he returned to duty, we did say good-bye— but we also told him, “God be with you till we meet again.”

John Nield

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