Published November 6, 2008
HINESVILLE — First Baptist Church is viable and dynamic. It is filled with committed as well as transient church members. The transient church members at First Baptist are not “on again, off again” Christians. They are not transient in the sense that they have a faith and dedication that ebbs and flows or a commitment that glows for a while and then dims and dies.
The transient church members referred to here are Christians who are in Hinesville because of their military assignment at Fort Stewart. First Baptist is less than a mile from the main entrance of this mammoth Army installation.
“Some of the most wonderful Christians in the world are stationed at Fort Stewart,” Pastor Chuck Owens testifies. “We see the military personnel and their families come to our church. They endear themselves to us and we grow to love them. We count them as family and then the next thing we know they are deployed oftentimes to some remote, seemingly God-forsaken part of the world. We send them out as ambassadors for Christ and they represent Him well.”
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield are the home of the 3rd Infantry Division, and combine to be the Army’s Premier Power Projection Platform on the Atlantic Coast. It is the largest, most effective, and efficient armor training base east of the Mississippi, covering 280,000 acres including parts of Liberty, Long, Tattnall, Evans, and Bryan counties in southeast Georgia.
One of the most impressive and heart-rending sites on the Fort Stewart complex is the Warrior’s Walk. It is beautiful, yet somber tree-lined promenade to commemorate the soldiers from Fort Stewart who have given their lives in the fight during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On Oct. 16 three Eastern redbud trees were added to the 414 existing trees on the Warrior’s Walk to memorialize the last three soldiers killed in Iraq while serving with the 3rd Infantry Division.
The winding brick walkways that make up the Warrior’s Walk on Cottrell Field are hallowed ground at Fort Stewart, where friends, family, and fellow soldiers of the fallen from Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield often leave mementos.
Eastern redbud trees, which bloom in Georgia in spring, line the walkways and granite markers while soldiers’ names rest at the base of each tree.
The 3rd Infantry Division was one of the first to reach Baghdad in March 2003. The memorial at Stewart was privately funded later that year.
Army Captain Jonathan Kirkland and his wife Heather are members of First Baptist Church. Heather has witnessed memorial services at the Warrior’s Walk and commented, “The service I attended was very moving. The wife and children of the fallen soldier went up to the tree planted in memory of their loved one and had their moment of quiet remembrance. We all shared their grief.”
Brit and Heidi Atchison are in Hinesville and at First Baptist Church due to Brit’s assignment at Fort Stewart. Brit, an Army Specialist, recalls the death of an acquaintance, Private Moreno, who was killed in Iraq. Atchison attended the service at the Warrior’s Walk and stated, “It was heart-wrenching.” The commander of the battalion and the chaplain spoke. The deceased soldier’s parents were present for the memorial service.”
Jonathan Kirland and Brit Atchison represent the very best of America’s military personnel. They both emphasized the great good that U.S. troops are accomplishing in Iraq.
Atchison spent most of his time in Iraq helping the Iraqi police rebuild their facilities all over the country. He remarked, “Most of their buildings had simply deteriorated over time. None of their facilities had modern conveniences and were sorely lacking in any kind of technology. In the rebuilding of their facilities we provided electricity, plumbing with running water, and air conditioning.”
Kirkland announced, “The United States military is bringing peace to a troubled nation that has deep-rooted scars most Americans would never be able understand.”
It is widely known that the American liberal media scarcely give U.S. soldiers any credit for the good things that have happened in Iraq in the past six years, but Kirkland attested to the humanitarian efforts being advanced by the military.
“The 1-30 Infantry Battalion spent over $7 million in reconstruction of schools, fish farms, and medical facilities,” he remarked. “We brought physicians and veterinarians into the country.
“At first the people were afraid of us because they had lived in a culture of fear for so long, but that soon subsided and they learned to trust us.”
Atchison reported, “We were able to fly one little Iraqi girl to America to a hospital where she received her sight. She had been blind from birth, but when she returned to her home in Iraq she could see light and shapes for the first time. Her prognosis is excellent, and her vision should improve until she can see as well as anyone.”
Our military through the years has not only been champions of democracy and freedom, but ambassadors of goodwill and helpfulness.
With Veterans Day approaching on Nov. 11 the citizens of this nation need to remember our military personnel and our veterans and pause to realize what they mean to America and pray for them.
The men and women of the United States military, both past and present, are known for their pride, professionalism, and patriotism. They are colored with bravery and immense courage. They have been and remain the guardians and protectors of America’s people and principles.
Red, white, and blue runs through their veins. Their selflessness and sacrifices have preserved the freedoms enjoyed by all U.S. citizens. On Veterans Day and every day Americans should salute and honor the soldiers of “Old Glory.”
Copyright © 2015, The Christian Index, All rights reserved.
6405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097
770-936-5590 / 877-424-6339
Site developed and powered by Sonova Systems