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A Tribute to the Faithful


by Colonel Bill D. Luttrell – 


There is something about a graveyard. Thinking of it elicits visions of ghosts, death, and the unknown. Fear and danger lurk, especially in stories with settings of overgrown vegetation and crumbling gravestones. We usually avoid a graveyard unless we have a specific intent.

While on a tour of the Salvation Army relief effort in Bosnia, we had the opportunity to visit a graveyard. No, we were not looking for tales or a new ghost story. We were exploring and discovering history.

The graveyard was located on a hill amidst the rolling, verdant countryside of a beautiful region in a vicinity with several villages. We walked among the grave markers, noting the dates of births and deaths. Some revealed the normal life span–others the evidence of early deaths, marking the time of recent war and destruction. They will ever reveal a dark time in the history of the Bosnian people and the seemingly senseless loss of hundreds of young men and women in an ethnic struggle.

I also have memories of the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii. It is a beautiful, immaculate setting created to safeguard the remains of thousands of men and women who have served their country with dignity and honor. The gentle trade winds circulate the sweet aroma of tropical flowers and plants placed by loved ones who visit with thoughts of warm and lasting alohas.

One of the strongest impacts of a visit to a graveyard struck me as I visited the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Southern California. (This is a far cry from a graveyard). The place is designed as a prototype just to visit, with beautiful rose gardens, sculptures and reflection pools.

I saw what I thought to be a strange sight. In one of the sections of the “park” I saw a man sitting next to a grave on the lawn chair with an umbrella overhead. “What was he doing,” I thought. Then it dawned on me–he’s remembering! I surmised it must be his wife, and he had come to be near her and to recall their love and life together. The more I thought about it the more comfortable I was with what I had observed.

And now, as I walk among the grave markers in the Army plots at Inglewood Park Cemetery, at Cypress Lawn in San Francisco, and in Santa Ana, I remember, too. So many of the names on the markers are familiar to me. The identification brings a rush of memory to my brain as well as a stirring in my heart, and I am both buoyed up and cast down. There is so much of our Western Salvation Army history in these places. Pioneers and risk takers! Prayer warriors and soul savers! Doers and not hearers alone! Those who lived by faith and not by sight.

They were men and women who sacrificed and labored long! Saints who saw the world as a great field to harvest and saints who would not count the cost.

And so, as I remember, I pay tribute to the hundreds of Salvationists, officers and soldiers alike, who have run the race, finished the course and kept the faith.

Adams…Austins…Allens…Ammann…Angels…

Bells…Bakers…Barrys…Bawden…Bradleys…

Buchanans…Boyer…Clines…Clarks…Danielsons…

Docters…Evans…Fogg…Fittons…Gifford…Grundal…Hills…Hogards…Holts…Hoods…Imais…Jolleys…

Johns…Jones…Larsons…Lloyds…Lum…Lynch…

Madsens…McHargs…McBride…McDougalds…

Mosleys…Newmans…Northrups…Newboulds…Olof…Ohrns…Osbournes…Parkins…Perry…Pattersons…

Parkhouse…Raders…Rudd…Riley…Rainwater…

Regesters…Ryans…Shinn…Smiths…Sathers…Sloan…Spillers…Stevens…Stillwells…Stohler…Taylors…

Tracys…Tulks…Vincent…Watts…Wilmers…Wedlers…Youngquists…Chad…Drew…Jim…Bill…Doreen…

Sylvia…Minnie…Linda…Louis…Hank…Harold…

Chet…Peggy…Vern…Harm…Bob…Cath…Vi…

Ernie…Ruth…Sybil…Les…Maizie…Isabel…George…Della…John…Dan…Francis…Ray…Dick…Ralph…

Link…Phyllis…Mok-Wa…Nora…Margaret…Mac…

Laulie…Vic…Elnora…Wally…Betty…Faith…Hope…

and many others whose names are also recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

We always thank God for all of you…we continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3)

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