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A Father's Prayer

By: David Grant dgrant@shopstop.net
Webmaster note: The following experience was emailed to me by  a David Grant. It was part of a message to someone he had treated for wounds at an Army hospital in Jan during the Vietnam War. Davis is allowing me to share this with all of you.
His Name Was Clarence

While stationed at the US Army Hospital, Camp Zama, Japan, 1969-1972, I 
worked for awhile in the Army MARS Radio Station.  We operated this 
station for the sole purpose of allowing the patients an opportunity to 
contact home and talk directly to their family or friends.  It was 
during this time that I met Clarence. 

Clarence's name appeared on our call log, one morning, and we noted that 
he was from Hawaii.  We decided to move his name to the bottom of the 
list, knowing that we would have a better chance of contacting a radio 
operator, in Hawaii, later in the day.  As luck would have it, however 
we unable to make contact and rescheduled his call for the next day.  
The next day came and, unfortunately, the same results.  The NCOIC of 
the station was leaving that night for 30 days leave in Hawaii, and told 
me that when he got there he would contact his friend, who was a MARS 
operator and we would get the call through for Clarence.  Sure enough, 
the next day, early in the afternoon, Japan time, I heard our call sign 
over the airwaves, it was my buddy, calling  from Hawaii.  He told me to 
transmit the information (name and telephone number of the party, 
Clarence was trying to contact).  I did so, and dispatched a runner to 
get a telephone down to Clarence, since he was a non-ambulatory 
patient.  (I didn't know, at that time, what was wrong with Clarence, 
only that he had been wounded in Viet Nam.)

By the time the runner got the telephone down to Clarence and got it set 
up, and called back to me that he was ready, my buddy had his party, in 
Hawaii, ready to go as well.   The conversation went as follows:

Clarence:  Hello Mom and Dad.

Father:  Hello Clarence.  We understand you have been wounded, but we 
don't have any details.  What happened?

Clarence:  Dad, I've lost both my legs at the knees. 

Father:  I understand, son.  How are you doing?   ( At this point I was 
surprised at the father's reaction, and this was the first information I 
had of Clarence's condition .- Hearing the next part of the 
conversation, I then realized that the father wanted to know about his 
son's spiritual well being.)

Clarence:  I'll be ok, the doctors say I have a good chance of getting 
artificial legs.

The conversation continued on past the normal three minutes, as it 
turned out Clarence had many brothers and sisters, and they all wanted 
to talk to him.  At the end the father came back on and offered a 
prayer, which we allowed to be transmitted.  He prayed for his son, but 
more especially he prayed for all servicemen, those stationed in Viet 
Nam, and especially for those caring for his son.  I lost it.  I could 
barely see the controls and meters on the radio, as the tears were 
flowing.  But that's not all.  After we signed off,  another MARS 
station broke in with their call-sign and the word "Amen".  Then another 
station broke in, with "Amen".  Within 5 minutes I logged 30 MARS 
stations with the same message - "Amen".  All these stations had heard 
the call, both sides, and were moved to do what they did.  I signed off, 
simply using my call sign, closed the station down, and went to the NCO 
Club.



 		David M. Grant, SFC, US Army (ret)
 			S5523A Neuman Rd.
                        Baraboo, WI  53913
                        608-356-9572 (home)
                        608-742-7181 (work)
                         dgrant@shopstop.net

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