Honoring an unwilling veteran—me!

If the adjective unwilling in the headline seems cryptic, you will understand as you read on. Last night, I had an unusual and impactful emotional experience. I did not weep, but I came very close.

Some back story first, and (my attempt at) a humorous anecdote: About ten years into our marriage, Roxanne and I both thought it would be fun to learn to dance. We were living in Palm Beach County and we saw an ad for learning how to square dance. It would be about six or eight weeks of lessons, one per week.

Roxanne, being a native of Minnesota, thought learning the polka would be a lot of fun, and I was quite willing. Unfortunately, we could find no one offering polka lessons. (It just popped into my head at this moment, that we probably could have found teachers at the German-American club in West Palm Beach, but the thought did not occur to us at the time.)

My childhood growing up in the farm country of western Ohio meant that square dancing was a staple at all wedding receptions, and I knew that Roxanne and I would have a great time learning how to. (Not that square dancing is unknown in Minnesota, of course, but she was more eager to learn polka.)

So we went to the first lesson of square dancing, and found out the teacher (a man) was from New York City. I almost could not help myself from bursting out laughing because it was evident early on that he probably was self-taught and learned the steps from a book.

So when he called out the steps and got to the part that goes… Do-si-do your partner,” that’s when I found it hard to contain my laughter because we had always heard it called as Do (as in John Doe) — si (as in see) — do your partner” but this fellow’s New York accent was hilarious to me as he called it this way: Do-*sigh*-do yuh pot-nuh!” (Imagine the stereotypical NY mobster lingo).

Okay, so if any of our readers from the NYC area can tell me that such is the way they call square dancing in the Big Apple…well, I still found it humorous because of my midwestern way of talking.

Granted, the USA is replete with scores if not hundreds of variances in how we speak English,” and that is one way we can enjoy our diversity (real diversity, not the politically-correct crap that is extant today) and have fun without going to war with each other over it.

So, about halfway through the first lesson, Roxanne told me she was dizzy and had to stop. We never went back, not because of the teacher, but because she soon announced to me that she was pregnant.

Years later we talked about learning ballroom dancing, but that never materialized because of her declining health and stamina.

About a year after she passed away, I began taking ballroom dancing lessons. I advanced to the Silver level (or maybe it was only Bronze II, whatever) and discovered that while it was enjoyable, it was also requiring much practice at that level, more than I had time to give. Plus, I had no pot-nuh with whom to practice.

Somewhere about that time, in one of the group lessons, a lady asked me if I had ever gone to the shag dances. I never heard of shag dancing, I replied. Oh, you ought to try it, she said. You’ll love it. And since you already know swing dancing, it is very similar.

She told me where to contact the local Mountain Shag Club (MSC). Within a couple weeks, I had quit ballroom dancing and joined the Mountain Shag Club. Turns out it is a lot more exercise (one of my motives for dancing), and a lot more fun.

Additionally, the ballroom dances were once a month and always on the weekend that I travel to teach our SK Fellowships in Tennessee and Georgia. And after several years of ballroom dancing, and at an advanced level, I still felt intimidated when at a ballroom dance that was not on my travel weekend.

Shag dancing was invented” in North Myrtle Beach, SC back in the late 1940s. Our MSC has a weekly dance (about 170 members in the club) and I have a repertoire of perhaps two dozen variations/moves/techniques with which to lead in dancing with all the ladies there (always more ladies than men at the weekly shag dance).

(Do any of our readers remember Dick Clark and American Bandstand? One of the ladies I dance with at the MSC knew Dick Clark. She was a teenager and she lived around the corner from him in their Philadelphia neighborhood. She appeared on the show. She is not in these pictures which she shared with me, but you can see a very young Dick Clark at the dais in this photo.)

(Remember the kids rating” the latest 45 rpm tune? Dick Clark: What do you like about it?” No matter which kid was rating it, the answer was always the same: Oh, it’s got a great beat!” LOL!! )

That’s the back story. Last night there were over 60 in attendance at the MSC dance, with a guest DJ who came up from Greenville or Spartanburg, SC. I usually get there on time (about 6 p.m.), but leave about 8 p.m., about an hour before it’s over.

That leaves me time to get home and do more research and study for blogs or for my next lecture. It didn’t work out that way last night—left much later than I had expected.

The club has a couple of line dances that we also enjoy doing and one of the favorite group dances is the River Waltz. I had requested of the guest DJ to play it ASAP because I had to leave soon. He said, okay, and then apparently promptly forgot.

By 8:15 I walked over to his corner and he was clearly embarrassed as he saw me approaching, telling me he forgot which one I had requested.

So I stayed and he played it next. Before I leave the dance, I spend a few minutes changing back into my street shoes, putting on my coat and hat, and saying good-bye to these now dear friends.

While I was doing that, he mentioned the passing of country music legend Toby Keith and spoke about his patriotism, and rah-rah-rah for America. As I stood up to leave and say my good-byes, he asked, are there any veterans in here? A few hands went up, including mine. He asked us to come up front. There were only six of us—all men and all were about my age.

He praised us for our service. The people stood up, giving us a standing ovation and cheers for America. He then invited them all to form a line and come up and shake the hands of each of us. Well, that turned out to be very moving experience and hard for me to hold back the tears.

You see, most of us had served in the Viet Nam era, and to be a member of the military at that time was very different from what it’s been like since the early 80s until now.

I remember my late friend and fellow Bible teacher, Lt. Col. Jack Mohr, who would tell the story of how he was literally spit upon by his countrymen when he was a speaker at patriotic events during the Viet Nam era.

What a story his life was—I should give more on that some time—but briefly, Jack was the first P.O.W. of the Korean War and when he miraculously escaped a communist firing squad and returned to America, he was tasked with writing the prisoner’s Code of Conduct for the armed forces.

Incidentally, John McCain did not follow the Code, but our readers might have guessed that from reading our blog about him a few weeks ago.

I was never spit upon, but we service members were very unpopular almost everywhere in America at the time I served (1968-72). However, I discovered that playing in a rock n’ roll band, even with short hair, led to some degree of popularity with the local young ladies!

(This is an old Polaroid of our drummer at rehearsal. Yes, he has too much hair to be in the USAF. We had no qualified drummers on our radar site, so we had this townie” high school kid as our drummer. He was pretty good! I’ll share a photo or two of the rest of my band in some other blog.)

Somewhere in my lectures—probably in the Mystery Babylon and the Stone Kingdom series I have expounded in more detail how I was an unwilling volunteer into the USAF.

I felt something was drastically wrong from what I was seeing happening then. I could not understand why the mighty USA could not win the war in Nam, but later when the Lord red-pilled me, only then did I come to understand.

Back then, it was the day I arrived at basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, that I found out shortly in a letter from my family back home that was the day my draft notice from the U. S. Army arrived in the mail.

So I had volunteered” into the Air Force just in time to avoid coming home from Nam in a body bag, as had happened to one of my close friends just a year before.

Nonetheless, I did my duty from 68-’72 keeping our Aircraft Control and Warning heavy ground radar sets in operation. Here is a picture of me leading my flight” (about 100 airmen) in formation across the flight line to or from our classes in electronics at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1969.

(James {in this edited Polaroid, under the red line} leading the troops.)

So, from being highly unpopular as a group in that era to what happened last night at the Mountain Shag Club dance was quite a change. Almost none of the ladies shook my hand.

Instead, they, too, were emotional as they gave all of us vets hugs, and some of them were virtual bear hugs, as they sincerely expressed their gratitude to us for serving our nation.

And many of the men also, at first, shook my hand and then gave me a hug, one saying this calls for more than just shaking your hand; thank you, James!”

Almost none of my friends at the club are red-pilled to the best of my knowledge, and so how could they possibly understand why this would impact me more than the other five vets last night?

That is to say, they did not and still do not perceive how and why America is going through what it is now experiencing, great pain and suffering (with more to come before the Kingdom comes to birth) a real invasion across our borders being part of the more to come”—and how it is all related to the fulfillments of Bible prophecies about (true) Israel!

Nevertheless, I was humbled at the very sincere appreciation of my countrymen. And since our Father had red pilled me for a reason back in the mid-1970s, I have done my best since then to do what Col. Mohr was doing—to help awaken our sleeping brethren and do our part (and not merely be pew-sitters) to help save America—which will not happen until we see the fulfillment of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and the return of our King and Savior!

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name [Christians], shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Amen and come quickly, Lord Jesus!


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