Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Veteran of 2 Wars

Today's homework for
"November-Photo a Day
"Something you do everyday"

I wear this St. Christopher's medal

The medal pictured above is a Saint Christopher medal, of "Patron Saint of safe travels" fame. My Mom gave me this medal many years ago when she came across it, sometime after my Dad died in 1989, while going through his stuff.

Many of you are familiar with St. Christopher, he's like the rock star of the Saints. You may not have heard of St. Bartholomew, but most people have heard of St. Christopher. This medal pictured above is unique in that, pictured on one side is St. Christopher with the words, "Behold St. Christopher, then go your way in safety."

On the other side is the Blessed Mother, with the words "Mary Our Mother-Protect Our Boys."
What's unique is the fact that the Blessed Mother is also on it. If you try to buy a St. Christopher medal today, Mother Mary will not be on it.

I assumed all along, but never looked into it, that this medal was probably given to my Dad when he was in the service during WWII. A quick Google search backed up my theory, these St. Christopher medals complete with the Blessed Mother on the other side were very common during "The Big One." I guess they figured "the boys" could use all the luck they could get.

My Mom knew nothing of the history, but I like to think my Dad wore this medal as he prepared the airfields on Iwo Jima in 1944. At the very least, he had it with him.

So, fast forward 65 years or so, and I'm wearing St. Christopher as I work in the engine room. My son-in-law to be, has been in Afghanistan at this point for a few months. My daughter, the bride to be at that time, was telling me on the phone she heard from Jim, said he was doing well but without giving details she relayed to me that he was in a "very active" area. She mentioned she was sending him a care package.

Out of the blue I had a thought, that I had to get this St. Christopher medal into his hands. I figured if I could do that, he would be safe. When I got home, I ran this thought past my daughter and she was all for it. We talked about the possibility of loosing this medal in the mail and we came to the conclusion that it was worth the try. If it were to somehow get lost, my Dad would have understood. He would have been glad to hear we tried. So, in the next care package and off to Afghanistan old St. Christopher went. A few weeks later we got word from Jim that St. Christopher had arrived.

The first time I saw Jim after he came home many months later, he walked up to me, thanked me and handed me my St. Christopher medal. This particular St. Christopher medal is now a veteran of 2 wars, separated by 66 years.

With all that being said, it's a bit confusing as to why Pope Paul IV removed St. Christopher from the starting lineup of the Roman Catholic Calender of Saints in 1969. The Church "still approves devotion to him", but they removed his Feast Day.

And you think Obamacare is confusing?


SueAnn Lommler said...

How cool is that!!? I love that you got it to him and he carried it with pride. Cool

Karen said...

Love this story, Mark.. wow. I'm sure it meant the world to your SIL, and your father. What a treasure, YOU.. and the medal.

Joey said...

Awesome story!! And yea -- being a "former" RC, I get the confusion...

Formerly known as Frau said...

Love this story....bought a few tears to me this morning. I have a St. Christopher as do most in my family and each hold their own special meaning. Have a wonderful weekend!

Marilyn said...

Growing up I always wanted a St. Christopher medal, eventhough I wasn't Catholic. I thought it would be cool. How special that your medal has seen two wars so far apart. I am amazed the the pope has changed St. Christopher's status.

Donna said...

Terrific story, especially so close to Veterans day weekend! The medal is a beauty - glad the 'protection' worked for both you and your SIL.

Barefoot from Heaven said...

snif snif....Love this story Mark. Send it out to a film agent and I'll even bet it will turn out to a tear teasing movie.
Yep St. Christopher sure did his job and I'm sure your dad was at his side watching out over your son in law as over your family.

I've got one from my granddad and wear it almost every day (just not now) but I'll look more carefull into it so see if the Holy Mother is on mine too.
I'll let you know.
Happy days my friend. Oh and skuper is still waiting for you but you're getting kinda late.
Hugs Dagmar

Jerral Miles said...

I love this story. Your faather's St. Christopher metal has been where it's supposed to be all along, and now it's back with you... where it belongs. Wonderful story.