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Memorial service: Establish a meaningful dash

The annual Memorial Service at the San Antonio Convention was held at 8:30 a.m. July 29 in the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The past presidents presented the colors. President Glenn Bronson led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Chaplain Joe Johnson led the call to worship.

The 99th Chorus sang "Song of America."

Johnson shared the words for the day.

"Today is another great day in our lives. Let us be thankful and rejoice in it. For more than 20 years it has been my privilege and an honor for me to lead you as we honor and pay respect to those of us who have gone ahead, paving the way for us to follow.

"Betty and I have been thinking and sharing thoughts recently about life both here and beyond. We have been active in the 99th Association since it started in 1949 — a long, long time ago! During that time span we have remembered more than 5,000 99'ers who have gone to glory. In spite of all the challenges, all of us in these "golden years of our lives" continue to look ahead to tomorrow, and we thank God for every tomorrow we are given.

"Since we met in Biloxi last year, my wife has received a new hip and new knee. Probably many of you have gone through similar challenges. We continue to master and survive those bumps in the road and thanks to the grace of God, we continue to enjoy life as we live it out.

"A few weeks ago, while walking through a cemetery, I noticed most gravestones had a dash drawn between the date of birth and the date of death. It made me think. What a wonderful way to summarize a life — with a beautiful and meaningful dash!

"We cannot stop our movement toward the final destination, but we can choose what we do with our dash. It can be spent on significant matters of life; or it can be spent on mere trivia, which will be wasted time in our life.

"We must learn and practice good stewardship. What is stewardship? It is the way we live. How we think and act — with ourselves and others. Both positive and negative. Good stewardship starts by living with God in our hearts and showing it in our actions with a positive attitude in what we do, what we say, and how we act.

"When we begin our trip to life eternal, there will be no pockets in our shrouds. We will see no Brinks trucks in our funeral procession, nor hearses pulling U-Haul trailers. We just cannot take our worldly treasurers with us. However, if we always strive to make a strong dash, positive and significant as a contribution to those we leave behind, it will be a good legacy.

"Hear this from Matthew (6:20): 'Lay up for yourselves many treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.' Through good stewardship, living with God in our heart and showing it in our actions, we can have an abundance of life and joy in our 'earthly' living.

"Through good stewardship, we can protect ourselves from being possessed by our worldly possessions. It is so easy for us to be influenced by friends, by ads on TV and newspapers, making material things seem so important for us to have though, most of the time, the purchase is an unnecessary one. At the time, we think that they mean real security.

"Through good stewardship we will grow spiritually. It is important and necessary that we have God in our lives. Think about it. Who sustains us when a child is lost, when a spouse is lost, or when an earth-shattering crisis falls upon us?

"Do you think those gravestones mentioned at the beginning of these remarks represented people who had a meaningful dash in their lives? How about you? Have you worked toward a meaningful dash in your lifetime?

"So, how do we go about establishing a wonderful and meaningful dash in our remaining time on earth? Many of you, I am sure, have already done just that. Hopefully, the three suggestions that are offered to you now will be gentle reminders and help you stay on track.

"Sacrifice — This is something that the friends and buddies we remember today did for all of us, totally, a long, long time ago. As survivors, each of us, in their memory, has an obligation to share ourselves with those near us who need help and support. We should strive to be a vital part of our family and our community, doing what we can to be sure those who did not return have not died in vain. We should live a good life; but not think that we have to outdo or have everything, as much or more than has our neighbor. The only one we have to please is our God; who one day will be waiting for each us when we have completed our dash.

"Surrender — Give ourselves to God and He will give Himself to us. We should find a certain assurance in knowing that God is in our family. How else do we cope with the tragic happenings in our lives, such as long and serious illness. The more we give of ourselves, the more we will receive. From personal experience, I can sincerely say — Try it and you'll like it!

"Service — You may be asking yourself, 'Why should I do all these things?' Let me suggest why it is very important. Because we need freedom in our lives. This country, the good old USA, was founded in prayer, by our forefathers who wrote the Declaration of Independence. We must continue to have prayer in our daily lives. Listen carefully: the big news of the day is this: We must keep the state out of the church; but we must not keep church out of the state. We need God in our great country; and we need to humble ourselves and pray every day.

"We should open our eyes and see what God has done. With all the beautiful mountains, rivers, and trees, and many other wonders of the world, how could we not recognize and see what God is doing.

"We must have faith and know that God will continue to do what is best for all. Even though we don't realize it, we should be thankful for His presence, and regularly offer prayers of gratitude.

"All of these things will assure of us a good dash in our lives. Amen."

Those we remember

Frank Abraham QM/99

George S. Anderson Unknown

Griffin Benson A/394

Phillip Boykin A/394

Innis Bromfield Unknown

Clarence L. Bultemeier A/372

Loith Burnaman H/395

C. William Clark Jr. I/393

Floyd "Bob" Clark 99 Recon

William V. Clark Jr. I/393

Garnett Click I/395

James G. Clower QM/372

Charles Chochran I/395

Harry Cook A/324

Harry Davis K/393

Herbert D. Davis I/395

Silvo D'Alisera K/393

Herb Edgecomb B/393

Walter John Drummond F/393

Kenneth Emmert L/395

Ed Evans 2nd Bn/393

Michael Gibel A/370

Donald Glish 393

Joseph W. Golla 99 Recon

Ralph E. Good I/394

Richard Gorby K/395

Jack Grant QM/99

Peter Grencewicz Hq/371

Steve Hawrylak 924 FA

John R. Highly B/371

Lenus Hileman L/393

Charles Hilkey C/393

Edward Hojnowski QM/393

Russell Hoover QM/370

Alexander Hossack Can/394

Merlin "Merky" Lagle M/394

George A. Leap QM/372

Joseph Liddick H/394

Thomas Lister M/395

Harold Mann I/394

Harley Marshall 394

Robert Masters B/324

Duane Masterson D/393

Cliff McDaniel L/394

William B. McNeil QM/924

Ted Morcott L/393

Bob Murrel 393

Luther Nossett I/394

Oakley Osborne D/394

Ed Peloquin L/394

Edward E. Powers L/394

Joseph Rabel T/393

Walter Radomski I/395

George W. Reed H/393

Joseph Reil K/394

Roy Rutherford I/394

Donald Schafer C/393

Martin Schotzberger B/393

Robert N. Smith B/393

Ralph Snuggs C/393

Paul Soderland H/395

Gilbert Stalker 2/393

Arthur Storm 99 QM

James Strawder E/393

Robin Strickland Can/394

Emory Stambaugh L/393

Carter B. Strong G/395

Al Sutorka K/393

Bill Tumblin 1/393

Charles F. Whitehead 370

Glenn Wilcoxson K/393

James Wilkinson L/395

James "Pete" Wood AT/394

Millard Woolsey Unknown

William K. Worley 99 Recon

Harold Wright C/393

Taps were sounded by Stewart Boone and Herm Saunders.

A prayer of intercession was given by Chaplain Johnson and the chorus sang "The Lord is My Shepherd."

Melanie Wilkins performed a special song, "Thank You," adapted to fit the occasion.

The past presidents retired the colors and the chaplain gave the benediction.

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