Monday, May 30, 2016

A Memorial Day Memoir

On this Memorial Day, I'd like to share this article that my Daddy wrote to commemorate one of our very own. May we never forget the sacrifices that were made to secure our freedom, and may we always share stories like this one with our children, friends, and loved ones, in order to be reminded that Freedom isn't FREE!

Memorial Day 2016
A New Perspective
By Dan Holladay, Jr.
The last Monday in May is here and we celebrate another Memorial Day. Ah! It’s a day off work or a day out of school enjoying all the trappings of another Holiday Celebration. There are picnics, boating and skiing on the lake, barbequing ribs and Boston Butts on the grill with family, friends and neighbors in the backyard, or a round of golf or perhaps a trip to the old ball park to see our favorite team play. Then there is the possibility we’re simply lounging around the pool soaking up some of the rays being provided by old “Sol.” In the midst of all of this fun and frolic we also may find just a brief moment to pause and remember those for whom this day was originally intended. Those brave and daring young men who voluntarily left home and love ones to go off and defend our country from the evil despots who dared to threaten our very existence.

For the Holladay Family this Memorial Day will be different; because for the first time in our lives, we will truly celebrate the life, legacy and lore of one of our own, who made the supreme sacrifice in the defense of our freedom during World War ll and after almost seventy- three years, has found his way back home. You see our Uncle, Sergeant John C Holladay USMC, was killed in action on New Georgia Island on July 20, 1943. His body was buried on the battlefield; but after the war was ended efforts to retrieve it and send it home for proper burial were unsuccessful. In 1949 the US Government declared his body unrecoverable and the books were closed; and we were left with nothing but memories wondering what ever happened to our loved one. This was a heavy burden for our Grandparents and his two siblings, James Herbert and Daniel to bear. But thank God this is not the end of the story.

In 2015 a local resident was digging on his property on New Georgia Island and unearthed human remains and turned them over to proper authorities who in turn gave them to our US government. These remains were then sent to a lab in Hawaii and processed and loaded into a data base. Knowing that our Uncle had been buried in that general area, government officials solicited DNA samples from members our family; and much to our sheer and utter amazement determined there was a match. By God’s “Amazing Grace” Uncle Charlton’s remains had been found!

The Marine Corp contacted us and met with us and began the process of having his remains returned to his homeland for proper burial with full military honors. As we prepared for this eventuality we began researching and reading all we could about the war in the Solomon Islands and discovered a book called “Edson’s Raiders” written by Colonel Joseph H. Alexander. Sergeant John C. Holladay was mentioned in the book no less than eight times. As a result things we had been told by family members who knew him were affirmed for us. He was a world class marksman who could shoot “the eye out of an ant.” He was a free spirit who could make a guitar sing and knew all 27 verses to the ballad “John Henry.” He was a fine Marine and much more.

His remains arrived in Charleston SC on Friday April 1st and escorted to his hometown of Florence, SC that very afternoon. The following Monday April 4, 2016, his 100th Birthday, he was taken to the Florence National Cemetery and properly interred with full military honors. What an amazing day this was for our family. Our fallen Hero was home where he belonged and we were no longer left to wonder about the location of his remains. We know where they are and we can visit and celebrate his life on Memorial Day or any other day of our choosing, We thank God for His Amazing Grace and allowing us this wonderful privilege.

Memorial Day will never be the same. Praise God!

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it along to our children through the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on to them to do the same.
~ Ronald Reagan

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

He Completes Me

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

Fill me Jesus.
Fill me all the way to the top
With Your love and grace and mercy.
I am empty, weak, and poor.
There is no good in me.
I need Your light to fill up all the dark places.
I need Your truth to replace all the lies.
I need Your word to fill where I am hungry.
Show me how to look to You and
no one else for my every need.
I have wandered far…
Searching for completion…
And Peace.
Only You, Jesus.
Only You can give me these things.
Only You can satisfy.
Only You complete me.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You Revive Me

Have you ever just wanted to fall on your face and weep because you are so grateful for all that God has done and is doing in your life?

Yeah.  Me, too.

I was just sitting here, checking emails and Facebook.  Having my coffee and toast, when my sister pops me up and asks, "Have you heard Christy Nockels' "Revive Me"?

No.  I hadn't.

So I looked it up.


Before I knew it I was lying on the floor.  Face down at his feet.  Bawling my eyes out.

These words flooded my heart...

And all my deserts are rivers of joy
You are the treasure, I could not afford
So I'll spend myself till' I'm empty and poor
All for you, you revive me, Lord

See, I lived in the desert for so long... Dry and parched.  Trying to fill that thirst with earthly things... sinful things.  But it didn't work.  I just got thirstier.

More  and more miserable.

Until one day, at my lowest of lows, I just got down on my knees and cried out to Him.  I had nowhere else to go.  No one else to turn to.  I'd hit rock bottom.

And I found The Rock at the bottom.

I prayed and asked him to cleanse me.  To heal me.  Restore me...

Revive me.

And He did.

He is.

My soul Lord is thirsty
Only You can satisfy
You're the well that never will run dry
And I thank you for the blessing
Of calling me Your friend
And in Your name I'm lifting up my hands

My life is not without struggle or pain, but I am steady.  I've lifted my eyes off of myself and certain situations, and looked to Jesus.  My very present help in time of need.  I am filled with joy.

To be truthful, I never thought I would feel this way again.  I thought I was done with God.  Or rather that He was done with me.  I couldn't imagine feeling his presence again so tangibly, much less still feeling a call on my life to be used for His glory.

But I have.

And I do.

Just this morning, as I was filling out some questions for my small group Bible Study, I was reminded that God allows trials in our lives to prove to us how GOOD He truly is.  And if we will let him, he will bring us through with flying colors.  Not only that, he will redeem those very same ugly things, and make them beautiful.  Use them for His glory. Our test becomes our testimony of his goodness and grace and faithfulness.

Lord I have see Your goodness
And I know that You are
Give me eyes to see You in the dark
And Your face shines of glory
That I only know in part
And there is still a longing
A longing in my heart
You revive me
You revive me lord

And we just have to share.

So I will.

Because that's what it's all about.

Through it all... shining my light and reflecting His glory.

I'm alive, I'm alive.... You breathe on me... Lord, You revive me!!!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Prayer of Wonder

Lord, I thank you for sunsets.
Perfect shades of blue, purple, pink, and orange
Coming together over the horizon.
For beautiful spring flowers
In every shade from the deepest violet
To the most vibrant reds.
Thank you for the golden days of summer,
Filled with warmest sunshine,
And big, white, puffy clouds in the sky.
Your mind is amazing, Father.
Your creativity is beyond awesome, 
And your artistry is brilliant.
Thank you for sweet songs of little blue birds
And a newborn baby's cry.
The sound of waves crashing over a shoreline
And the gentle pitter-patter of a shower of rain 
Compose your choir.
You are truly amazing, Lord.
Your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well.
I will sing of your majesty
And tell of your excellent greatness.
Reveal yourself to me, Jesus
In the most beautiful of ways.
Make me worship you with all my heart,
In awe and wonder.
I love you, Jesus.
You are my light, my strength, my song!

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
Psalm 19: 1-2
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