Ramona here, and I had the most amazing 4th of July this year. I took my daughter, who loves fireworks, to Franklin, Kentucky, to watch their celebration on Friday. Then, on Saturday, I found myself in a position to watch a lot of the Nashville fireworks in the midst of a raging thunderstorm. I’d picked up the simulcast of the symphony, and I assure you there are few spectacles that can rival Sousa blended with lightning and skyrockets.
Yet the most memorable moment of the weekend came on Sunday morning. After our service of patriotic music and inspiring sermon, the invitational hymn brought forth not a new believer but an old one.
Dick Bradley has been our “amen corner” for as long as I can remember. His faith is unwavering, and he and his wife, Lady, have guided at least three generations of the church’s kids through superior example and wise advice. You may not always agree with Dick, but no one doubts his passion for his family or his faith.
Or his country.
Sunday, Dick got up and simply repeated three names:
He then explained that in August 1942, the four of them had been just four young men from Donelson, Tennessee. Friends, who forever bonded during the six months that followed the first landings of what became one of the most pivotal battles of World War II.
Dick is now the sole survivor of the four. Ed is buried on Guadalcanal. Dick simply wanted to remind us of that which lies behind the fireworks and patriotic music.
Over the past week, I’ve been holding a contest on my blog to “cast” the hero of my next book. As writers, we deal in the business of heroes. But, to tell the truth, no matter how impressive our fictional heroes, no matter what feats they achieve or triumphs they have, they never really measure up to the real thing.
So here’s my love and thanks to the real heroes among us.