Kearns speaks of ‘faith of a soldier’

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery

DOBBINS HEIGHTS — It seemed chilly, not yet 60 degrees in the sun and with the chairs situated in the shade on the lawn of Dobbins Heights Town Hall, some felt it was even cooler, what with the breeze and all.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rev. Joseph Kearns was the featured speaker Tuesday morning at the second annual Veterans Day Service at Dobbins Heights Town Hall.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rev. Joseph Kearns was the featured speaker Tuesday morning at the annual Veterans Day Service at Dobbins Heights Town Hall.

So Rev. Joseph Kearns spoke quickly, and briefly. But his Veterans Day message Tuesday morning lacked not passion or compassion for those who have worn the uniform of an American solider, sailor, airman or Marine or for family members who have supported their loved ones in the service of their country.

It takes, Kearns said, “the faith of a soldier.”

Kearns, a retired Navy man who served from 1961 to 1981 — a time when the military was segregated by policy, and later practice, noted Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue.

“Things were a lot different,” Blue told the audience of  some two dozen people, many of them veterans. “He sacrificed a lot.”

Kearns, of Marston, spoke of military service members returning home from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said there many veterans are struggling to adjust to the return to civilian life and that it’s up to fellow veterans — not the government — to ensure a smooth transition.

“We all know that veterans are coming home with scars, injuries,” Kearns said. “Some of them are homeless.”

Kearns noted that it’s possible that “Uncle Sam wrote a bad check.”

“That’s alright,” he said. “He’s gonna make it right.”

Then he challenged those in attendance of the 20-minute gathering to step up.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Vivian Little, U.S. Army (retired), renders a salute in the wreath-laying ceremony at the foot of the flagpole.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Vivian Little, U.S. Army (retired), renders a salute in the wreath-laying ceremony at the foot of the flagpole.

“If you see a fellow veteran who’s leaning, prop him up,” Kearns preached. “If you see a veterans who’s fallen, help him up. The government might not do what you think it should do. We need to support each other.”

Kearns noted the gap between those who have served and those who haven’t. There wasn’t any judging, but there was, perhaps, an inability to comprehend.

“If you have never been in the military, then you don’t know what it’s like to sign your name to a paper that could very well end your life,” Kearns said.

Kearns said it takes the “faith of a soldier” to get through the sacrifices.

“You might not get a Purple Heart, but every soldier endures pain and struggling,” he said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kearns, wearing a gray suit with a red and gold pin on his jacket that reflected the National Baptist Laymen’s Movement, welded military sacrifice with religion.

“Many have gone before you, and have made it through by faith,” Kearns said.

Those with faith, he said, “are never alone in battle.”

“I need your faith, and you need mine,” Kearns said. “With great faith, you can do great things.”

Town Clerk Mary McGee started the service by introducing Blue. Darryl McSwain gave the invocation and Rockingham resident Vivian Little, U.S. Army (retired), rendered a salute in the wreath-laying ceremony at the base of the flagpole.

The service was in partnership with the U.S. of America Vietnam War Commemoration. The town is is required to stage two events each year that honor Vietnam veterans.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

 

Filed in: Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, Military and Veterans, News, Religion

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