Friday, September 23, 2011
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..