For those of you who haven’t heard through church or Twitter or Facebook or elsewhere, I lost my Dad this past week. In the last few days our family shared stories, shed tears and said goodbye. What follows is a story that all of us heard (with some variations) about Dad’s experiences during WWII that my brother Mark shared online. Not only is it one of my favorite stories about my dad, it is deeply insightful and will make you think about who we are when we are out in “the world.” With his permission, I share Mark’s story with you.
During WWII, Stanley, from a small family farm in Ohio, left high school early to enlist in the armed services. When his classmates were donning caps and gowns for graduation, Stanley was already in the uniform of the U.S. Navy. Aboard a munitions ship in the South Pacific, the U.S.S Manderson Victory, they tied up to battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, re-arming them with every kind of shell and armament. While he never talked much of the war, he certainly saw it’s horrors up close; seeing their sister ship blow up in an immense fireball when it hit a mine; coming under heavy bombardment during the invasion of Okinawa. But for the crew of the Manderson Victory, perhaps the most perilous time they experienced wasn’t during battle, but during a storm. A storm that pitched the ship around so violently that the racks holding the munitions in the hold began breaking; timbers the size of railroad ties snapping like toothpicks. Shells rolling around, clanking together – they were one spark away from meeting the same fate as their sister ship. Up on the bridge, the Captain muttered something about needing a “man who knows how to pray”. One of the officers heard the comment, went and fetched Stanley, and brought him to the bridge. Stanley said that during the entire war, this was the only time he had ever seen fear on the Captain’s face. The Captain looked at Stanley, said “I understand you’re a man who knows how to pray. I need you to pray us through the storm,” and he handed Stanley the microphone to the ship’s public address. And Stanley prayed.
|Dr. Stanley I. Partridge|
And so I remain challenged by the legacy of my dad. When I’m at work, with friends, in various groups I socialize with, I always ask myself,
“What’s my reputation?”
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