Veterans Day is a time for us to honor and pay our respects to those who have served in the military.
Billy Graham always felt it was important to encourage and pray for our veterans.
“From time to time we have had the opportunity to visit veterans’ hospitals. After a service, we’ve gone from bed to bed talking and praying with the patients. Many of these people feel neglected. They have lost limbs, eyesight or health in service to their country.
Some have been in the hospital for years and will remain there the rest of their lives. What a price they have paid for all of us. I once talked to a man who had lost a leg in World War II. When I remarked about the price he had paid, he said, “It was worth it, wasn’t it?”
In 1966 and 1968, William C. Westmoreland, commanding general of the American forces, invited Billy Graham to Vietnam to visit and preach to the troops at Christmas. Mr. Graham visited aircraft carriers, air bases, hospitals, and jungle outposts during his time in that war torn country.
When he arrived in Vietnam on one of those trips, reporters swarmed him to find out if he supported the president’s policy regarding the war, and he responded by saying, “My only desire is to minister to our troops by my prayers and spiritual help wherever I can.”
In his autobiography Just As I Am, Billy Graham recounts about the scary flights he took to get to the areas where American soldiers were stationed:
“Another flight, this one skittering over the treetops, was just as hair-raising. The weather was worse that time, and only one volunteer – a colonel – came forward to fly the Team to some spots near the front. The plane was a two-motor job with a big hole in the back. At one point, the colonel and I both let out a roar when a mountain appeared right in front of the windscreen. He pulled back on the stick as hard as he could, and I heard the back of the plane scape the treetops. We finally made an impossible landing at a remote site, and not a moment too soon for my taste. I led a short service with the troops, and Bev [Shea] sang a hymn. Then, the colonel made an impossible takeoff for another spot fifteen minutes away. And so it went throughout the day. I was in a state of perpetual fright, but Bev? He just sat back, singing songs.”
Upon his return home Mr. Graham said, “These men were daily facing death for the sake of their country and freedom. As I gave invitations for them to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, hundreds raised their hands in front of their buddies. Many were weeping unashamedly–men who had faced death just hours before.”