True heroism...is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
- Arthur Ashe
This afternoon I saw a news clip of a brother and sister, ages 10 and 8, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade in their town.
Along came a vehicle with a platform on the back. There, waving an American flag, was their father, a Marine. He had been stationed in Afghanistan for five months and had found this spot in the parade to surprise his children for Thanksgiving. How many other reunions of soldiers and their families are taking place this holiday season? And how many of these reunions are not happening because soldiers are deployed overseas or have given their lives for our county?
One of the Guideposts Outreach programs I am most proud of is our Military Outreach. Guideposts has shared millions of written inspirational materials with our troops stationed around the globe.
Guideposts has been blessed with the friendship of retired Army Chaplain (Major General) G.T. Gunhus. Chaplain Gunhus has provided Guideposts many paths into the lives of our servicemen and women all around the world. It is through Chaplain Gunhus’ outreach within the military, and now that of retired Army Chaplain (Colonel) Charles Howell, that Guideposts is able to touch so many military lives.
When I was a little girl, I remember hearing that my Grandpa Peale had visited our troops in Vietnam. Back then I thought he was onstage alongside Bob Hope. Now I know Grandpa was humbled to offer his appreciation of the soldiers in person and to bring spiritual support and God’s word to them.
I found a few photographs of Grandpa’s time in Vietnam. I am so proud of this long history of Guideposts’ and my grandparents’ commitment to the brave men and women who serve our country. Guideposts Military Outreach never forgets our soldiers and their sacrifices. I know that Grandpa and Grandma Peale would be so grateful for the continued faith-filled outreach Guideposts provides to support those who serve in our military.
I found the Army uniform that was provided for Grandpa on his trip to Vietnam, with “Peale” embroidered on the shirt. I know he was deeply honored to wear this uniform. It is now part of the Peale Archives. Not long ago I unearthed from the depths of my grandparents’ attic the boots Grandpa wore with his uniform. Amazing to think of the ground these trotted upon and the experiences of the man who wore them.
I give thanks to our troops, like the Marine father I saw on the news clip this afternoon, for all they sacrifice for us. I know their road, and that of their families, is riddled with challenges. Challenges that can be met with great faith, the faith that my Grandfather Peale hoped to share when he stood before our soldiers in Vietnam.
Katheryn (Katie) Allen Berlandi is the seventh of Guideposts cofounders Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Ruth Stafford Peale’s eight grandchildren. She is a clinical social worker with a private practice focusing on children, adolescents and families, and a consultant for Guideposts and the Guideposts Foundation. Katie lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters and son.