Greeting in the name of Jesus,
We are right in the middle of the 69th anniversary of the Battle of the bulge. The writer who describes this event on the Army’s web page, wrote: “In late 1944, in the wake of the allied forces’ successful D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, it seemed as if the Second World War was all but over. But on December 16, with the onset of winter, the German army launched a counteroffensive that was intended to cut through the Allied forces in a manner that would turn the tide of the war in Hitler’s favor. The battle that ensued is known historically as The Battle of the Bulge. The courage and fortitude of the American Soldier was tested against great adversity. Nevertheless, the quality of his response ultimately meant the victory of freedom over tyranny.”
I love history, and I must confess I am the son of a World War 2 Purple heart recipient (more on that in a moment), and I am the Father of an Iraqi Freedom Veteran, a gunner who had his vehicle blown out from under him, and returned to a world at home where nightmares would be his constant companion. I feel honored to be both son and father…but I was born at the wrong time. My childhood was inundated with The Vietnam war, but I was 4 when it began and 15 when it ended. I was 31 when Suddam Hussien invaded Kuwait, and already a father of 3…with another baby on the way. I have the greatest of respect for those who served in our armed forces during more peaceful time, but it wasn’t for me…both my father and son are war torn veteran’s….my son and I share this truth with each other….one from the wars of a battle against a spiritual dark enemy, and one from the horrors of war where 14 year old distribute ammo in battle for their fathers….”You cannot unsee what you’ve seen.” It made me afraid to wake up my father in the midst of dreams of death, and it makes me pray for God to bring peace to my tattered son’s soul when the nightmares attack.
But some of my Father’s history in battle reminds me a great deal of my salvation….In the middle of the Battle of the Bulge…January 19, 1945…My Father was on point as he lead a recon group in the black forest…when he stepped on a three pronged landmine…it blow off his left leg and shrapnel pierced his right leg severely. He ended up 20 feet way from the impact and staring into the night sky…he was going to die….by all rights he should have bleed out right there where he lay….and then he felt Frank Carlisle, his best friend…pick him up. Frank had disobeyed orders to wait for the mine sweepers….he ran through the mine field….wrapped his arms around Pvt. Burdette and carried him to an aid station….where they put a tourniquet on his left leg and stopped the bleeding in his right leg….and saved my father’s life….Without the heroic and selfless actions of Pvt. Frank Carlisle….Rick Burdette would not have been born….life wouldn’t have been possible.
There are so many stories I could share with you concerning God’s providence…..how my Dad met my Mom in an amputee hospital in Atlanta Georgia…but I’ll save those for another time. Here’s what I know, without a doubt…At one point in my rebelious, sinful life, the enemy was winning in my life….I lay on the battle field blown apart, each flaming arrow found it’s mark….and I was dying….in fact…spiritually dead already. But Jesus would not allow that….”He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” He ran through the mine field of sin…he never gave into a one of them….and because of that, he stretched his arms out on Calvary and saved me….an empty tomb not only conquered his death…it became the cure for my death…and yours. So, it’s not a coincidence that on January 17, 1998 Ricky Burdette died, and was reborn…53 years after my Dad’s rescue….Today as I reflect, I’m 53. By the Way, God sent a friend running into my life to carry me to the aid station as well…thanks Becky Henry.
A thankful soldier,