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The Lord is My Light

1702 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Hunter
Last night I had a once in a lifetime experience.

As many of you know I am a Scout Master.

From time to time we have joint activities with the young men and young women youth groups at our Church.

We had one such activity last night, and as luck would have it, the Scouts were charged with supplying the inspirational speaker.

We had been wondering for some time who we could get and then one of my Scouts suggested that he had a Grand Uncle, who might come and speak to us.

This Grand Uncle is Jay Hess, who was shot down over Vietnam in 1967 and spent 6 years as a POW. First at the Hanoi Hilton and then in Dog Patch.

A bunch of teenagers and a few adults sat for an hour and listened to this quiet un-assuming man, who shared a deeply touching message with us.

He had joined the Air Force during the Korean war, and trained as a pilot, but the war ended as he was completing his training.

He loved flying fighter planes and then in 1964 the Vietnam War started.

He had flown some 35 missions when he was finally shot down.

He said he might have made it back, but after his plane had been hit, he wanted to get out of there fast and so he hit the after burners. His plane was flying fine until then and this ignited a fuel leak and turned his plane into a ball of fire, from which he had to eject.

He talked about how he was captured and became a POW.

He talked about those he knew there and some of the things they went through.

He talked about the faith he and his 3 roommates had that saw them through.

He talked about how Freedom is not free, and how any day that you have a door knob on your side of the door is a good day, or any day that someone does not tie your hands behind your back and then pull them up and over your head and down until they tie them to your feet in front pulling your arms from their sockets, using what they called "the rope trick" is a good day.

He finished with the following story;

In 1972 the war and the bombing escalated and he and some of the other prisoners were moved from the Hanoi Hilton to a place they called Dog Patch.
This was out in the country and they had no electricity in the small stone structure where they were held. There were 2 larger rooms where most of the men slept, that had kerosene lamps for light, but they did not have room for 2 of the men to sleep in these rooms.
2 men had to sleep 1 in each of 2 small closets. There was no light or lamps in these closets and so as they lay alone, when they slept there they hoped that what crawled across their feet was rats and not cobra's and what crawled on their bodies was Misquotes and not spiders. They took turns sleeping alone in these closets.

They were given soup to eat, with some rice and to try and get some light he started to skim small amounts of oil off the top of his soup and save it in his spoon. He took some threads from his shorts and made a wick and dipping the wick in this oil he hoped to have a small oil lamp, but the guards would not light it for him.

Finally he convinced them it was only for light and they did light it and he had this tiny little light.

Staring at that tiny light, all alone in that tiny dark closet, the words of the old hymn came to him, "The Lord is my Light, then why should I fear, by day and by night, his presence is near...." This helped him keep his sanity in those darkest of days.

For me, it really puts things in prospective.

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GREAT Story, Wish I could have been there. I'm an Air Force Vet myself, not a pilot but an MP. Thank you VERY much for sharing, especially this close to Veterans day.
Strategic Tactical said:
GREAT Story, Wish I could have been there. I'm an Air Force Vet myself, not a pilot but an MP. Thank you VERY much for sharing, especially this close to Veterans day.
You are welcome.

I have a son-in -law, who has veen flying B 52's but is now a pilot trainer at Shepard.
Very sobering, regardless of whether your personal light is the lord, or another god, or something altogether different you can't quite put your finger on.
Very touching. Good story, that would have been a great experience to sit in on and listen. Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful story. Reminds me of Liberty Jail.
Thanks for sharing that story. That's very sobering and thought-provoking. Indeed, freedom is not free and we all owe a great debt to those who fought, suffered and died defending our liberty.
Awsome story, what an honor it would have been to meet him.
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