No Denominations in a Foxhole

Chadwick - Bellingham, Washington
Entered on January 2, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

Boom! The weight room walls shook violently as another mine blows up a tank in the “box” of Hohenfels Army training center. At 16:28, with workout done, I made my way down General Patton Drive to the Post Chapel. At 16:30, I see cars everywhere stopping with soldiers and civilians getting out of their cars and saluting Old Glory as the colors come down off the flag pole and taps is played. As I get out of my car I can’t help but observe the rigid stance of an American soldier at attention. Chest out, left shoulder and elbow bent slightly, right hand rigid and straight across his brow. Whatever turn his life has taken up to this moment the daily ritual provides a glimpse of honors definition. Today at 17:00 a packed Chapel will pray in Germany for those deployed forward in the desert of Iraq. No one asks questions about differences in style of worship, no one is there to question denominational differences. Nothing but heartfelt prayer to a God who loves them. First prayers from the Catholic Priest from Zimbabwe, then an African American Gospel Minister, a Protestant Church Chaplain, followed by a Chaplain coming from the field and popular with the troops. Every color of man is there all knelt down, with hands laid on, wispering names to God of loved ones in Iraq. There is an incredible spirit present now, powerful when more than one are gathered united together, blind to race, creed, color, and even religious affiliation. “No atheists in a foxhole,” and now no denominations either. Later as my family sat down for a meal at the mess hall with nothing but German troops all around us, no one was watching soccer in which the German national team had fought to gain runner-up status at last years World Cup. No one watching the newest game in Europe at the time- NFL football. The stadium had changed; the times places, names and faces were all changing. The people in Germany and around the world were watching now and thinking. . . . . . . . The world smaller, walls coming down, a united Germany. United as we called out that day- to God -in a time of need. What could this mean for our world? A German soldier whom I befriended smiled then came over to our table to talk to our family. Then it sunk in, for the first time since Hitler’s Army had occupied this post for training purposes, the German Army was again guarding it – this time protecting the Americans who lived and worked here. My Grandfather would have rolled over in his grave at this thought but now at this moment we were exchanging handshakes. For the first time in my life I had a feeling that God was doing something big to unite humanity at this place and at this time. I felt His presence as I welled up inside as the soldier smiled and walked away.