FORSYTH COUNTY NEWS, Sunday, July 22, 2007, Page 11A
HAVING SURVIVED THREE WARS, FAMILY BIBLE RE-ENLISTS
Lemuel Cliff Creamer
Calvin A. Thompson
Donald C. Creamer
John Henry Wade III
Soldiers' marching orders: Come home, and bring it with you
by Phill Bettis, Columnist
Rarely do we get to touch something very,
very special. Those moments make me feel uneasy, as if I am unworthy
to hold something so sacred. I recently experienced one of those
moments as I held a nearly 90-year-old New Testament that was like no
Inside the well worn cover were
inscriptions by Theodore Roosevelt and General John J. Pershing. In
1918, the New York Bible Society presented this New Testament to Lemuel
Cliff Creamer at Camp Merritt, New Jersey. Mr. Creamer and his New
Testament would soon see the horrors of World War I in France and Germany.
Lemuel Cliff Creamer would however return
home to begin a family and to create a legacy involving that little New
When Adolf Hitler threatened the civilized
world during the next generation's war, Lemuel Cliff Creamer presented the
New Testament to his son-in-law, Calvin A. Thompson who left for Europe
just as the Allies invaded in 1944. Creamer had a simple requirement
for his son-in-law: bring yourself and this New Testament back.
After service again in Germany and then
Austria, the little New Testament made its way back home with Thompson.
In 1966, the well traveled New Testament
was brought out again. Pvt. Donald C. Creamer, Lemuel Cliff
Creamer's own son, left for Vietnam for a two-year tour of duty. The
tradition continued as Pvt. Creamer was asked to bring himself and
the same New Testament back again by his brother-in-law, Calvin A.
Thompson. Donald C. Creamer honored his brother-in-law's request and
his late father's legacy.
We are frequently reminded on our nightly
news that freedom comes at a great price. Virtually every generation
since the founding of our nation has fought for that freedom. John
Henry Wade III recently participated in Marine graduation at Parris Island
in Beaufort, S.C.
Despite the known conflict with terrorism
around the globe, John had decided at age 17, during his senior year at
South Forsyth High School, to serve his country. It was no doubt his
destiny to follow in the footsteps of his great grandfather, Lemuel Cliff
Creamer, his grandfather, Calvin Thompson, and his great uncle Donald C.
As with those before, John's grandmother,
81-year-old Laura Jane Creamer Thompson had only one gift for him.
It happened to be the 90-year old New Testament and her clear instructions
for her grandson to bring himself and the little book back home safely.
John, who grew up wanting camouflaged
birthday cakes and frequent trips to the army surplus store, was often
found in the woods building forts or admiring his grandfather's medals and
dog tags. He was a sure bet to serve his country. After his
recent graduation at Parris Island, John told his parents, "We live
in the greatest nation on earth. I cannot even imagine anyone not
wanting to serve our country. I feel blessed to be able to serve for
There are young lives that end on
battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis. Sometimes we
see those faces, but do we really know the quality and heritage of these
precious young people that give so freely? They are the faces of
those far from home and family with uncertainty all about. They are
greatly missed as children, spouses, parents and grandparents pray for
their safe return.
John Henry Wade III is one of those
faces. I have been blessed to have been in his great-grandfather's
house when I was a child, to have known his grandfather very well and to
call his great-uncle on of my best friends.
I have watched John grow into a special
young man, nurtured by devoted parents, Henry and Judy Wade, who could not
be prouder of their Marine.
General Pershing's note in the front of
that New Testament seems very appropriate. "Let your valor as a
soldier and your conduct as a man be an inspiration to your comrades and
an honor to your country."
John Henry Wade III is now stationed in
Honolulu, Hawaii awaiting his next assignment. He and thousands of
his comrades, some being your children and grandchildren, have fulfilled
that ideal shared by Gen. Pershing.
I pray for their safe return and an end to
the conflict that strains our nation. I believe that PFC John Henry
Wade III, United States Marine Corp, will personally deliver that little
New Testament back home to his grandmother. When he does, I hope
that worn New Testament will have a long and well deserved rest.