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Christine Wentzel
by Christine Wentzel
May 30, 2024

“Taps is a military bugle call played slow and solemn to invoke a feeling of remembrance and respect for the soldiers who have died in battle. On a trumpet, there are no valve movements, only tone changes made with the pursing of the lips” (Naval Bugler, 1974).

This haunting tune and loud rifle volleys echoed within our heavy hearts as we drove away from our family’s funeral service in Arlington National Cemetery. We viewed orderly rows of identical white headstones. The only marked difference was an engraved religious affiliation symbol.

There are faith stories behind those fallen saints with crosses on their stones.

It is said there are no atheists in foxholes. Whether in hell on the front lines or in the PTSD mind, “Oh God!” was a common cry among sinner and saint alike. From the saint to the sinner came the gift to share the divine comfort about their personal rescue from eternal death. Out of love, God sent his Son. The gift of faith and a rebirth in the Holy Spirit awaited their confession from a repentant heart. In that moment of grace, the sinner became the saint and eventually arrived safely in heaven.

We will never forget your sacrificial service to God and country.

Onward, then, ye faithful; join the happy throng,

Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song:

Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King;

This through countless ages saints and angels sing. (“Onward Christian Soldiers”)