Friday, September 23, 2011

Singing Hymns at Camp Snake Pit, Iraq

With about 100 high school aged young people, I explored the Veterans Museum in Chehalis, Washington on Wednesday this last week. Many sobering things to see and read about--soldiers taking great risks to secure peace and freedom, all too often for others to enjoy.

I was particularly struck by the story of twenty-two year-old Marine, Joseph P. Bier, a local boy from the small Washington town of Centralia. While home on leave in August he had gone fishing in his favorite trout stream near Mt Ranier, and had conversation with his father about whether he ought to reenlist in the Marines for another tour of duty.

He did reenlist. A bit before Thanksgiving, he requested that his parents send him four hymnals for his Bible Study at Camp Snake Pit, Ramandi. His favorite passage in the Bible was Psalm 144, "Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; 2 he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. 3 O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? 4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow."

Joseph P. Bier, 22, of Centralia, Wash.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed Dec. 7, 2005 by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq (from Honor the Fallen website). 

Among his affects in the display case at the museum was his hymnal opened to Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress is our God. His comrades sent it home with his Bible and family pictures he kept with him. May God's grace be sufficient for his parents. And may my students remember their Creator in the days of their youth, and love lives of humble gratitude for the redeeming love of Christ and promised eternal life for all who have abandoned hope in themselves and trust alone in the merits of Christ Jesus..

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Bond,

    Thank you for this post. I so appreciate that you continue to instill a love for God and our country in the students at CHS. I will never forget visiting Normandy as an 18 year old student and looking around the American cemetery at the graves of our soldiers who gave their lives for the freedoms we continue to enjoy today. Many of them were not much older than I was/am when they were killed. I'm afraid that American patriotism is something we are seeing less and less of and I'm not sure what it will take to remind this generation that freedom and peace come at a cost.

    My husband, Chris, is beginning his third deployment in 2 weeks and we would appreciate your prayers and the prayers of your students if you think of us while he is gone this fall.

    Thanks again for your faithful and godly instruction to all of us CHS students!

    Charissa (Lensch) Sobel