Published July 1, 2004
As a high school senior in New York, Charles Montrose knew what to do when he learned about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As soon as he had his diploma in hand he headed to the local recruiting station where he volunteered to defend his nation. Today, 61 years later and after a dozen years in the U.S. Marine Corps and 10 years in the U.S. Air Force – and following the loss of a hand and forearm in an airplane crash in peacetime military service – he still says it’s the best decision he ever made. On several occasions he placed his body as a shield between those who would take away his freedom and friends and family back home who counted on him to help preserve it. He carries reminders of those encounters with him today – bullet and shrapnel wounds that did not stop him in service to his country. A quiet, unassuming, soft-spoken American hero, Charles Montrose is proud to be an American on this Fourth of July.
“I was born into freedom and I wasn’t about to let someone take it from me; that’s why I enlisted.
Every July 4, I reflect on what our forefathers did to help birth this nation. They were farmers who fought the British with little military training and followed Washington across the Delaware in winter with few warm clothes. But they knew what they were fighting for and were willing to pay the sacrifice. Each day we should pray for our boys in Afghanistan and Iraq who are there on our behalf. They are paying the ultimate sacrifice each day.”
Charles Montrose, First Baptist Church, Social Circle
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