purple hearts and gratitude

IMG_1833Saturday evening our church (WFPC) was Full to overflowing with the over 400 visitors and volunteers who attended a dinner designed to recognize and honor local veterans who had been decorated with a “Purple Heart” during their military service.

In her welcome, Rebekah talked about her uncle Pete’s Purple Heart, earned posthumously after losing his young life in the cold waters of the North Atlantic during World War Two.

“I want to thank you for providing me with this opportunity to share Joseph Peter Alexander’s story,” she said. “I always felt cheated of that relationship with my uncle; but seeing some of you from that era being recognized tonight gives me a sense of connection to him, and to so many who did not come home.”

Uncle Pete was lost after his ship, the Angelina, was torpedoed by A German U-boat.

Colors were presented, veterans were honored, the national anthem was sung, a military band played, dinner was served, and speeches were made.

Rebekah welcoming on behalf of WFPC
Rebekah welcoming on behalf of WFPC

Interestingly, rather than focusing on their wounds, the overwhelming sentiment of the evening was gratitude. Gratitude for those who serve, gratitude for those who sacrifice, gratitude for the support of those at home, gratitude for a nation that lives under a banner of freedom, gratitude for the life that we have.

And I am grateful to have been there, to have been in a room stuffed full with people who understand that life is not about “me,” but that it is about serving, and caring, and working together and – most of all – loving.

And to love, unselfishly, is a demonstration that we are made – even though we are sl broken – in the image of God.

Peace – in every way – DEREK


  1. Thank you for inviting us into this beautiful story via your great post today. Because of their service we have the freedoms we do today. And gratitude is the least we can offer…I’m sure this celebration meant a great deal to those you honored. Blessings to all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Derek and Rebekah for sharing your account of this meaningful service. I would love to have the privilege of worshiping with you at WFPC someday. You may perhaps recall that I am a friend of Marion Kemp’s and used to attend the church that her father Norman pastored in Hong Kong. Marion and I still keep in contact. Thank you for this encouraging post and may God bless and keep the work of your hands and the spirit and service of your hearts for His name’s sake. Gratefully ~ Carol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carol. Great to hear from you again! Yes, I remember our connection through Marion. Would love to see you here at worship one day! But I’ve forgotten where you live now?
      peace – DEREK


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