The day before I was inducted into the U.S. Army I was given a small pocket Bible by the woman who would one day become my wife. It was small and easily accessible. I carried this little book with me during infantry training and then throughout the war. It fit easily in one of the many pockets on my jungle fatigues or stuffed in my rucksack.

That small well-worn book held within it the promises I so counted on during those troubling times.

I would write home to my folks often, but seldom gave them information about what was really happening in our daily trudges through enemy territory. We had no body armor like the soldiers have today–the only substance between our flesh and the enemy’s bullets were dirty jungle-fatigues. 

After a particularly vicious fight with the enemy, I wrote home to my younger brother and related some information about the battle details and casualties which had taken place. I clearly instructed him to destroy the letter when he had finished so my mother could not read it.

About a month later, I received a nice box of chocolate chip cookies and a new small zippered Bible from my mom. When I unzipped it, I found that this particular Bible had something inside it besides the Word of God. Tucked tightly next to the front cover was a piece of steel plate.

After my mother passed away, I found an envelope containing the tiny fragments of that torn-up letter to my brother which my mom had patiently pieced and taped together.

When you grow up in a home where there is love, discipline, and compassion–along with a huge dose of fun–all while feeling safe, you have something precious.

Growing up in my home where mom provided these attributes gave me a foundation to move forward on. When I left home and went to war I gained an appreciation and understanding of the value of a wonderful mom and her caring ways.

Thank you Mom, you made me a rich man.