In Prophetic Untimeliness Os Guinness argued, successfully I think, that our culture has an irrational and dangerous fixation on the present and future. Our emphasis on the latest and greatest comes at the expense of all that the past has to offer us. Tragically, this distaste of the past has become prevalent in the past and we, as Christians, risk having to re-learn lessons that we would already know were we to keep one eye fixed firmly in the past.
The League of Grateful Sons is an organization dedicated to preserving memories from the past, and in particular, the memories of fathers who fought during the Second World War–to pass the legacy of these men to another generation. This war took the lives of 182,000 American fathers. Hundreds of thousands of fathers did return, but many of these never took the opportunity to share their legacy with their children. With thousands of war veterans dying every day, the opportunities are growing ever more seldom. But within the ranks of these survivors of the war are a collection of men who made it their life mission to tell others of the providences of God and the meaning of manhood. These men have sought to share their experiences with later generations and to begin to build a legacy in their sons and their grandsons. We can honor God by honoring these men and encouraging them to share their what God has taught them. They can, in turn, honor God by attempting to leave a legacy for coming generations.
The Faith of Our Fathers Project has released a DVD entitled The League of Grateful Sons that examines a few of these great war heroes as they return to one of the bloodiest and most infamous battlefields of the war: Iwo Jima. The film introduces “Colonel” Bell Henderson, a hardened Marine who maintained moral purity throughout the war, Bill Brown, a fighter pilot who was shot down and later rescued, and other men who fought bravely for a cause they believed in. It follows them as, for the first time in sixty years, they walk upon the black sands of Iwo Jima. But this time, rather than being accompanied by their friends, they walk arm-in-arm with their sons and grandsons. They pause and reflect, recalling events still as clear in their minds today as they were six decades ago. They share the past so they can build a better future.
“Our goal with The League of Grateful Sons,” writes Doug Phillips,” is to honor the sacrifice for freedom made by these men, and all who fought during the Second World War, and to pass on their legacy to the next generation. May this story inspire you and your family to keep their memory alive, and to preserve the heritage of your own fathers for generations to come.” This story is inspirational. It is deeply and profoundly moving. It is a testament to the power of God, not only in his acts of providence in the lives of these brave men, but in motivating them to share their stories with a generation in desperate need of godly heroes.
The League of Grateful Sons is a beautiful film that will move you to tears and leave you grateful for the peace we enjoy today, and for the brave men that fought for that peace, several generations ago.