I can't tell you of ever finding God in church and I can't remember feeling He was near me when I went there.
I do remember seeing a lot of friendly smiling faces and people dressed in all their nice clothes. Somehow, I always felt uneasy ... too many people, too close.
No, I don't remember seeing God in church but I hear His name there constantly. Some ask, "Have you been born again? If so, when?" And I don't understand!
I did feel God in Vietnam ... almost every day.
I felt Him when, after an all-night fire fight, He sent the sun to chase the rain away ... and the rain would return with majesty the very next day.
He was there when I collected Sergeant Moore's body parts to put in a body bag.
He was there when I wrote a letter to his widow explaining how he died.
He was behind me when I heard Sergeant Sink's last dying gasp.
He helped me carry Sergeant Swanson down a hill in the An Loe Valley.
I caught a glimpse of God when I felt the heat of napalm called on our own position, May 27, 1967.
I felt Him around me when the chaplain would hold field services for our dead.
I saw His reflection in the faces of my men when I told them to save one bullet for themselves as we were about to be overrun one hot steamy day in a ‘Nam far away.
He led me in the Lord's Prayer on every air assault as we stood on the skids coming in at treetop level.
When we set up our night ambushes and I couldn't see my own hands because of the darkness, I would feel His hands.
He sent loneliness to guarantee the fond memories that always appear later in life.
I'll always remember the strength God gave to the orphans ... the children of war. He made them strong, but they didn't understand. I know after 25 years, we sleep under the same star.
He sent boys to war. They returned young men ... their lives forever changed, proud to protect the land of the free.
I don't know if God goes to church ... but I know He goes to war!
~ Dr. Barry L. McAlpine ~
First Squadron - Ninth U.S. Cavalry
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