Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Veteran's Day, A Bible, & My Grandparents

It was just a few weeks ago that we celebrated Veteran's Day. I failed to mention it then, but I am so thankful for all of the men and women who have fought for our freedom as a country. Some of my posts in the past might have seemed contradictory to this, but they shouldn't be. Let there be no mistake, my faith is Christian, not American. But that doesn't mean that I am not proud to be an American. And it certainly does not mean I am not thankful for all those women who risk their lives for our freedom. One of those men was Harold Roderick, my grandpa.

There is one possession I keep in my office that I count just as valuable as about anything else. It is a Bible that belonged to my Grandpa Roderick (mom's dad). It is a little pocket Bible that he had with him while he was in WWII. It is hard to read, but the Bible has inscribed on the front, "May the Lord be with you." It is small, only about 3" wide by 4.5" long and has a hard, metal front cover. The Natural Museum of American History says "Steel-covered New Testaments were popular keepsake gifts for soldiers going off to fight in World War II. Advertised in newspapers and magazines as protection from bullets, the small books were designed to be carried in the pocket over one's heart as both symbol and shield."

I really do not remember much about my grandpa except the smell of his pipe. I always like that. He passed away when I was in upper elementary from a horrible bought of liver cancer. I don't even know how I ended up with this Bible, but I am thankful for it. It was most likely a gift from my grandma to him, for in the inscription on the inside says, "To my darling with all my love and faith, Carrie." There are some days when I wonder what it was like for her to give him this Bible. What was she thinking as he went to war? Did she think this was the last thing she would ever give him? My grandma must have been all about giving Bibles, for I have another one in my office that I received from her. She wrote in this one as well. It says, "To Thad Bergmeier, From Grandma Roderick on his thirteenth birthday. This book will keep you from sin. Sin will keep you from this book." I have always loved that saying.

Back to my grandpa. You can see from the inside cover that he tracked his journeys during the war. He embarked on July 11, 1945 heading to Saipan. This would have been towards the very end of the war. he was discharged almost a year later on June 28, 1946. Other than his itinerary, I don't know what he did. I have often wondered if he read this book. I have looked through it looking for markings or something that might communicate that he read the Bible while he was gone. I have no idea.

My favorite part of this Bible is the back cover. It contains a picture of my grandma and grandpa, obviously taken sometime before he left for the war. I wish I would have had more time with him and would have more memories of him. Since my memories of him are limited, I treasure this Bible.

I am thankful for him and for all those that have fought in our military. And more than that, I am thankful for my grandma for giving him this Bible and the one she gave me. There might not be a better gift than that.

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