BIMI

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WWII VETERANS HONORED BY BIMI by Jeff Alverson  Sometime ago I stood in the American cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.  My emotions were stirred as I viewed the almost 10,000 grave sites of white crosses and Stars of David that dotted that hillside and remembered the great cost of our freedom.  Indeed, we understand that freedom is not free when we realize that many gave the ultimate sacrifice in battle. Last year the Military Ministry of Baptist International Missions began an effort to seek out, recognize and honor as many World War II veterans as possible while they are still living.  They are now dying on the average of 1,400 every day and we realized that if we are going to do anything to honor this greatest generation of heroes, we need to do it right away. Therefore, when we find these veterans, we, in a formal way, recognize them and present them with a certificate of recognition and honor for their service to our country during those terrible days of world war.  Since we began the endeavor in the summer of 2011, several whom we have honored have already passed on.  One veteran told us that he was discharged from the service in 1946 and this is the first time that anyone had ever rec- ognized his service.  He is a survivor of the bloody battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific where so many Americans died in battle. This past week we honored PFC Clifford H. McClain who fought in several battles in the South Pacific from 1942–45.  His duty was an anti-aircraft gunner and he said,  “Yeah, 750 rounds for each gun and you’re sitting in the middle of that, you can’t hear for about two weeks. ” Mr. McClain went on to speak of the decision to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki. He says that decision saved thousands of American soldiers who were preparing to invade Japan on foot. “They said it was going to be bloody, and that a lot of us would die,” McClain said.  We are glad he made it back home and it is a privilege for the Military Ministry here at BIMI to honor him and these other WW II veterans. Some of the other veterans we have honored