Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It  was November 23rd, just a couple of days before Thanksgiving Day.  But I remember it like it was yesterday.  And I'm sure I will for the remainder of my life.  That particular day was to be Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta Day in Iowa.  A day for honoring the United States first living Medal of Honor recipient in more than 40 years at the State Capitol in Des Moines.  I recall asking my youngest son, Jordan, if he'd like to go with me being that his two older brothers were now both in the military.

I'm not sure if Jordan understood the significance of the day.  Not to say he didn't know there was some importance, but how much, I'm not sure.  After the ceremony, I said to him, "let's go meet the Staff Sgt's mother".  "Uhh, why?, he said.....why do we want to do that"?   "Because", I responded in my fatherly voice that men do when they don't want to go into a long explanation.  "I feel I'm supposed to connect with her".  So we did.

From that encounter has come some great healing moments for our family.  Rosemary Giunta has been an encourager along the way of our oldest son, Kristopher's, deployment to Afghanistan.  She knows....she's been there....and she has the discernment in how to deal with military life, prayerfully.  And how!!

Rosemary and I have had many a conversation molding our relationship to God and the tie we have in our compassion for our soldiers and their families. We weren't certain where this would take us.  But all along God had a plan.  Last Sunday, Rosemary was part of an awesome group of people who lent their "gifts" in a prayer vigil for the Iowa National Guard Troops deployed in in Afghanistan and their families.  I need to thank Bret Culbertson for videotaping the vigil and providing his enormous talent in editing the piece you are about to see and that is now on YouTube.  Rosemary's prayer was a stoppage in time, literally.  Take a listen.  But let me ask one other thing of you.  Make some time and watch....then click on the video again and close your eyes and listen to Rosemary's words.......and then ask yourself it that is God led.

Last Sunday we prayed for the safety and protection for the Iowa National Guard Soldiers specifically, but in general terms Rosemary's words were for any serviceman or woman and their families.  Her soothing words have the calming voice of a mother to a son or daughter.  They are spoken with such truth and boldness.  And just think......I reflect back to November 23rd and think how easy it would have been to blow off attending the Capitol function of the Staff Sgt.  How easy it would have been to say, don't have the time or any other excuse I could think of for not going. 

Yup, I could have said all of those thoughts and convinced myself not to go.  But there was a whisper inside me saying I needed to connect with Rosemary.  And now I know why.  All along, God wanted to use us and other people we knew to pray, sing and speak for our troops and to show others the power of that prayer.  For you soldiers that watch her video, hang onto her words.  Watch it each night and know the strength and comfort that resides there.  But most importantly, know SOMEONE IS PRAYING FOR YOU.

UPDATE (story from Iowa National Guard released at 2:20 p.m. on May 20th):   

Four Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard, were wounded when their vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan on Wednesday, May 18.

Sgt. Chisum Frisch, 23, of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Spc. Jacob Hutchison, 21, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Spc. Benjamin Ward, 26, or Rowley, Iowa; and Private 1st Class Tanner Williams, 18, of Tama, Iowa, were transported to medical facilities at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Frisch, Ward and Williams were members of Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, while Hutchison belonged to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

The Prayer Vigil on Sunday and the 24/7 Prayer Calendar are for you fine gentlemen and for your fellow soldiers.  As I said above....KNOW SOMEONE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!



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