"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Tribute of Honor for Navy Veteran Claude Hicks

Col. Curt Castillo at Claude Hick's grave
Rachelle and I have some very special friends around the world whom we cherish.

Two of those friends live right here in Enid. Air Force Colonel Curt Castillo (ret.) and his wife Suzi are members of Emmanuel Enid. We've known them for two decades. Colonel Castillo has had a highly distinguished and decorated career in the United States Air Force, recently finishing his Air Force career as a commander at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. He now flies for one of the United States' major commercial airlines, commuting from Enid.

Yesterday, Curt read my post entitled Covid and the Inhumanity of Isolating the Elderly. I lamented the fact that some of our elderly were dying alone, without family around them because of isolation.

Another friend of mine from Texas, Rex Ray, read the same post that Curt did.

Rex is an intelligent man and regularly tells some wonderful stories in his comments on my blog. Rachelle and I became close to Rex and his wife Judy after they joined us on a tour of Israel just a couple of years ago. 

After reading my post about the tragedy of the elderly dying alone because of COVID-19 isolation, Rex commented: 
"This is a heart-breaking story.

Our favorite cousin, Claude Hicks, was in the navy and scheduled to invade Japan. But two weeks before, the BOMB ended the war.

He was in a nursing home, and we were not allowed to visit.

When he died this May (2020), his wife was in a nursing home and wasn’t allowed to attend his funeral because of the virus. Claude Hicks was buried at Dallas Forth Worth National Cemetery that has 41,000 graves.

There were no “Taps”, no flag to be given to a loved one.
The number allowed to attend was six.
All we could see from 200 yards, was a backhoe digger, and men lowering a coffin."

Col. Curt Castillo read Rex's comment on my blog.

Col. Castillo and Rex do not know each other. 

Curt was so moved by Rex's comment, that today - on Curt's day off  - he drove to DFW National
Cemetery to pay his respects to Claude Hicks. Col. Curt Castillo took the time to locate Fireman First Class (F1) Claude Hicks (United States Navy) final resting place. At the grave, he paid his respects.

Col. Curt Castillo texted me just a few minutes ago: 

"As my parents age, I really appreciated your blog yesterday. However, Rex Ray's comment struck a nerve. Rex not being able to attend his cousin's funeral up close and personal is sad and unnecessary. I don't know Rex, nor do I know where Rex lives, but if you could tell him that I have visited his cousin's final resting place and paid my respects to a man who served his country with honor." 

Rex, I know that you and Judy will read this. Please share with Claude's wife that United States Colonel Curt Castillo (ret.) was so moved by his story of an isolated burial for a soldier of honor, that he traveled to pay his respects.

This is why I love America. Our country is filled with men and women with the character of the Castillos, the Rays, and the Hicks.

There is no stranger when it comes to sacrifice and honor. Thank you, Col. Castillo, for illustrating what makes America such a great country.

 It's people like you.


RB Kuter said...

An amazing testament to the grace and love that can bind strangers together. Surely, God was orchestrating it all.

Christiane said...

A beautiful post, WADE.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for you visit to my Uncle Claude's grave site and your service to our country, Col. Curt Castillo. I drove my cousin Rex Ray to the burial back in May and my uncle deserved so much more as many do that have passed during the pandemic. It does warm my heart to see the grave stone in place now and the pictures that you have provided. Our family will have some type of celebration of life at the site when the pandemic has passed to provide a better tribute for our family. Thank you again for the time and respect, and for Rex pointing me to this blog post.


Wesley Hicks

Rex Ray said...


Just got in from 300-mile trip visiting relatives. Brought your post up and saw: “A Tribute of Honor for Navy Veteran Claude Hicks”

I thought: ‘That guy has the same name as my cousin.’

Could hardly believe what Colonel Castillo did. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.

I called and texted Claude’s family. Two nephews live a mile from us. They’ve never seen your blog. I gave one your name and was telling him how to find you, he said, “Never mind, I’m reading it.”

When I first married, my uncle, Rex Ray (‘Cowboy Missionary to China’) was the preacher, and Claude was my best man.

I was going to make the comment above, and saw Wesley Hick’s comment. (He’s the one that said, “Never mind, I’m reading it.”)

Rex Ray said...


Needless to say none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you. THANK YOU

Wade Burleson said...

Wesley and Rex,

Like both of you, extremely proud of what Curt did, and delighted you now have pictures of the headstone. Blessings to you both and all of the Hicks extended family.

Christiane said...

"There is no stranger when it comes to sacrifice and honor."

Comes to mind the phrase: 'band of brothers'

Rex Ray said...


This post is like ripples made by a rock on water; how far do they go?

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the best Sunday School teacher I’ve ever had. He replied, “This made my eyes leak.”

The daughter of Claude’s wife texted: “This is so lovely! Thank you for sharing it with me.”

On the other hand, 19 years ago; 2,977 people died on 9-11. Do we remember?

CM said...

Rex Ray,

9/11 is like Pearl Harbor, both are events that define a generation. So while the public ceremonies may ebb and flow in size, exposure, and the like over the years, I do not think people who are still alive when it happened ever really forget. On this day, people are thinking and remembering what they were doing when it happened. Just like for Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, etc.

So the question is not so much that do we remember, but rather what we remember.

Rex Ray said...


Yes, when I heard, “The President has been shot”, I asked, “What’s the punch line?” because there were so many jokes about JFK.

When my Dad heard JFK was dead, he told our mother, WE HAVE A TEXAN FOR PRESIDENT.

In my opinion of years later, he should have said, we have a murderer for a President.

My ‘bucket list’ is to change in Dallas the LBJ Freeway to JFK Freeway.

Rex Ray said...



“WASHINGTON (RNS)—Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have sued a charitable foundation they say is trying to misuse millions of dollars in assets.
The two Baptist institutions filed suit Sept. 8 against the Texas-based Harold E. Riley Foundation and its board of trustees.

According to the lawsuit, the foundation was set up in 2002 by Riley, a wealthy businessman who died in 2017, for the benefit of the two schools. The schools were granted the freedom to name a majority of the foundation’s board and the foundation’s stated charitable purpose was to provide support for the schools.

In 2018, that changed, according to the suit. The lawsuit alleges the foundation’s board of trustees rewrote its bylaws—without notifying Baylor or Southwestern—and changed the charitable purpose of the foundation. As part of the changes, the two schools were also stripped of their ability to name board members, removing the foundation’s only beneficiaries from any governance role.”

CM said...

Rex Ray,

LBJ was quite the sob (to be blunt). Think Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard and Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit combined and increased by about 2 orders of magnitude.

I am sure JFK and LBJ hated each other's guts but JFK needed LBJ to win in 1960, so their ticket was just business. I am sure there was no love lost between them. Renaming the highway in Dallas as you suggested works for me.

Christiane said...

Hello REX RAY,

in response to your previous inquiry concerning what I knew on an older post, I can point you to this information:

"Viktor Shokin, who was forced out of the job of general prosecutor in 2016 following an intervention by then-Vice President Joe Biden, told Giuliani that he had been investigating a Ukrainian gas company that had given a position on its board to Biden’s son Hunter. Giuliani then fed this story to right-wing media. What was left out of his account was that Biden’s intervention was part of a broad campaign by Ukrainian reformers, European governments and international financial institutions to oust Shokin, who was blocking prosecutions of corrupt officials and oligarchs.

The prosecutor who replaced Shokin, Yuriy Lutsenko, subsequently stated publicly that the gas company was not under investigation at the time of Biden’s intervention, and that there has been no wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. But Lutsenko had his own ax to grind. He, too, was at war with liberal activists, including a nongovernment anti-corruption organization as well as Serhiy Leshchenko, a liberal legislator and journalist. They charged that this prosecutor, too, was blocking corruption probes, and they had the support of the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, a career member of the Foreign Service."


I recommend reading the entire article which helps connect the dots between the corrupt cronies of Putin which the Ukraine no longer wanted to be in power. It's always good to know where Putin has his hand in the world and who he is controlling and manipulating. I caution American evangelicals to be aware that Putin is NOT a 'friend' to our country or to the Church.

As to what Putin is capable of, I can offer this:

"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged Wednesday that there is a “substantial chance” senior Russian officials were behind the poisoning of the Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny."
(Navalny, the victim, was a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin)

Rex Ray said...


I see you’re like me in checking any new comments on old post of Wade’s. (That’s good.)

On Wade’s post of 9-7-20: “Jesus and Christian Involvement in 2020 Politics”, I showed a video of Joe Biden telling two men on a stage in front of an audience that he told Ukraine they’re not getting the billion dollars unless the prosecutor that was investigating the company that hired his son was fired.

You gave two links that I should read to “connect the dots”. The last link was about a critic of Putin being poisoned. (What’s that got to do with the subject?)

The first link tells there was another ‘force’ that fired the prosecutor.

You don’t deny Biden told Ukraine: “Unless you fire the prosecutor, you’re not getting the billion dollars.”

Let’s put it another way. If two guys shoot at your son, but one (Biden) misses, is he innocent?

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

actually it looks more like Giuliani got the facts of the case wrong:

Christiane said...

REX RAY, there are two sides to most political controversies;
but as far as taking up for our country against Putin, I would think Biden is the more reliable. And I've got military in my family, so I'm going with Biden.

Soon Nov. 3 will come and go.
And we will go into the Advent Season and towards Christmas, and hopefully a blessed New Year where there will be a vaccine developed to put an end to all this virus trouble. Hopefully.

We have to look towards the future with some hope, I think. And in the meantime, we need to pray for those who are in harm's way or suffering.

May we set Christ always before us, the One who shows us the path of life. :)

CM said...

Rex Ray,

Of course you don't mention the fact that Japan, Germany, the IMF, and a host of other countries also wanted that corrupt prosecutor gone, not just Obama and Biden. By the way, the billion dollars was a loan, not a grant or aid gift. A distinct and important difference.

Put it another way Rex, should a bank give you final approval for a home loan to close a sale when they discover later on that you had you were using someone else's financials and pretended that information was yours?

Rex Ray said...


Welcome to the discussion. With your knowledge of facts, would you tell the dealings of Joe Biden’s son with China, and how Joe’s two brothers became wealthy?

And please don’t start on Trump like Christiane has done in trying to change the subject.

CM said...


Perhaps you can enlighten me with your further Ukraine information and please provide references as I have done in my rebuttal. References which you have conveniently ignored. You highlighted something Biden said regarding the billion dollars. I was responding not "what about Trump" but rather information germaine to the topic. But your assertion that this something to be done to help Hunter Biden. It is farcical on its face if you consider the actual timeline of Hunter at Burisma, the investigation, the prosecutor, and loan. Your theory only works is if you have a time machine. I will be more than happy to provide a detailed timeline and references to back that up.

As for dealings of China and the Bidens and how they became wealthy, sure (and while I am at it, I will preemptively shoot down whatever the standard lines you will present from your so-called information sources). But its readily apparent that your whole Ukraine line of argument is fatally flawed and you suddenly decide to switch to China (when the topic at hand was Ukraine). You can't deal with the fact that you have nothing more to back up your Ukraine assertions. So it seems obvious here that YOU are the one who trying to change subject from Ukraine to China.

CM said...

Rex Ray,

Of course, should you bring up Giuliani's and Sen. Ron Johnson's investigations with regards to Ukraine and the Bidens, I shall point out that their source was no other than Andriy Derkach.

Andriy Derkach was recently sanctioned by Trump's own Treasury Department for being guess what, a Russian agent. The same guy who had been the source all kinds of dirt on Biden for the your narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine (and all the pundits and media people you favor):


And here is the actual information the Department of the Treasury:


Both Secreatary of State Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Mnunchin stated that Derkach was sanctioned for elections interference. It should be obvious that his election inference was intended to damage Biden and NOT help him. And you fell whole narrative hook, line, and sinker.

CM said...

The same Andriy Derkach, by the way, featured quite prominently in Giuliani's, John Solomon's, OANN's (aka Russian media front company), and others' supposed "bombshell reports" on the all the antics of the Bidens in the Ukraine. Nothing like using a confirmed Russian peddler of dezinformatsiya right of out of a KGB op in the Cold War.

RB Kuter said...

You know what's fun to do sometimes is to tune in on "Russia TV" and their "news" and commentaries. They are very "American" sounding and you can almost imagine them being another American mainstream news media source. Of course they are biased but you can't really tell if they are worse than all the American news sources we have.

You know guys, I think we are ALL dupes. We allow ourselves to be influenced and brainwashed by sources totally biased either "one" way or the "other". We have ZERO credible "news" sources that earnestly strive to present objective, non-opinionated "news reports".

Our juices get all stirred up about the ridiculous "POLLS" that are absolutely WORTHLESS in terms of genuinely assessing ANYTHING regarding the status of American opinion.Polls are made to be slanted one way or the other. They are extremely biased according to "who" is polled, the "manner" in which questions are asked, if indeed questions are "asked" instead of manipulating the respondent with what they are supposed to answer in order to be pleasing to the pollster. Time and time again, polls have proven to be bogus and less credible than Las Vegas "odds makers".

Yet look at us! We are ALL idiots! Me too! I, like ALL of you, tune in to the whatever information source I know is going to feed me the same swill I always prefer. I know where to find my fried chicken and will not go to a hamburger joint to feed on their swill because it gives me indigestion.

Then "we" all go on social media and battle it out and get offensive and address others who have opinions different than ours as being stupid, lame brain puppets programmed by whatever sources spew out misinformation slanted the way we like, and are less intelligent, compassionate or insightful than the other.

We are a joke, in my estimation. It's scary because it portrays just how we ALL are susceptible to being manipulated and programmed by power players bent on controlling the population. It is not difficult to see how enough people can be brainwashed into falling into goose-step marching right into the ovens as though we were going to the circus as the Pied Piper flutist on CNN and Fox News play the enchanting tune that tickles our fancy.

Time I "got a life" and cut the umbilical cord!

RB Kuter said...

Which brings up another question for consideration, CM and Rex Ray: "At this day and time, just what difference would it make if Putin was President of the United States? What real differences would we see take place in the USA from what it is moving toward under the power and influence of those activists who seem bent on implementing revolutionary changes now?"

There was once a day when the ideologies of Russia, China, and the United States stood in sharp contrast in terms of their basic premises, principles, perspective on spiritual faith in God and Jesus Christ. Given the extremist, radical, activists operating in the United States today, those differences have become VERY blurred.

Don't know about CM, but Rex Ray remembers Nikita saying, "We will bury you." and his prophecy, "We will take America without firing a shot!" Glad that guy is not living today and could say, "I TOLD YOU SO!"

Now that we have more and more radical politicians boldly proclaiming that they are socialists, are for state ran everything, are anti-individual freedom and anti-capitalist, anti-God,and totally opposed to the principle of the value of individual life, the differences between us and them have diminished to the point of not being very distinguishable.

I've been in communist ran nations and one can sense the oppression and recognize the risks involved in venturing to speak in opposition to the government when walking the streets and visiting in the shops. I've lived in one country where you would go to jail for years if you even hinted anything negative about their monarchy. So I do recognize those countries still maintain a level of the oppression of freedoms greater than the USA, right now.

However, one can see just how tentative our amazing freedoms have become and how the value for the life, liberty and freedom of individuals have become less and less a factor in the way government and society in general, view things and operates. Things could easily be stolen and in just a few short years, we could wake up and wonder, "Hey, Comrade, are we in San Francisco or Moscow?"

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

I believe you will find the link below to be true how relatives of Joe Biden became wealthy.


Rex Ray said...


You probably know about the link I gave to RB Kuter on how Biden’s influence got five of his relatives rich, but you’d have us chasing rabbits with your words and links. Am I wrong in concluding you’re a Democrat?

Christiane said...

Mr. Kuter,
we Americans are NOT as 'gullible'as all that IF we have learned to think critically and 'consider the sources' of information, which means instead of sitting for three hours on one channel that 'tickles our ears',
we survey MANY different sources of media and do our homework and check out the sources we cover . . . which takes time.

When I suggested to people to 'widen their sources of information', it was to that end: that they begin to survey the wider field and take note and think critically . . .
and this means I have some RESPECT for our citizens to bring up their common sense and begin to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and to do it for the sake of the country, which is now in a bit of trouble, but has STRONG ROOTS in trying to work problems out and eventually to do the right thing to survive as a country which has strong allies and resources of NATIONAL CHARACTER that lately haven't been celebrated by our representatives, with some notable exceptions.

In short, we are not stooges or 'useful fools' for Putin and the oligarchs; and it DOES MATTER to us if Russian aggression harms our sworn allies, and our military IS SHAMED STILL when it is commanded from on high to desert its allies in the field of battle, to leave them to be slaughtered by the Turks. We are still BETTER THAN THIS. It's in our DNA to ask questions, to protest unfairness, to PEACEFULLY protest against unAmerican treatment of our own by those in power. And, we also are better than being cowered into not facing our problems straight on and doing what we can to resolve them in good faith upon honor and conscience to protect our integrity as a nation.

'Widen your sources of information'
'Do your 'homework'.
'What is 'the other side(s) of an issue'?

none of this is 'ear tickle-ing' no; and no one 'likes' the hard work involved to 'think critically'

except that now, we must.

Mr. Kuter, you raise some good points. Consider my comment to be in agreement with many of them, when we begin to use our strong heritage of good common American sense, and figure out from all that is 'known', what is the way to go forward in a good direction.

Your comments were a breath of fresh air. We are not 'comrades' yet, we are not fools for Putin, no. Not yet. Not yet. Nyet. :)

RB Kuter said...

"we Americans are NOT as 'gullible'as all that IF we have learned to think critically and 'consider the sources' of information"

Case in point.

Christiane said...

In regards as to 'who controls the narrative', that game has been played for hundreds of years, and political satire from long ago explains the way the game is played:

"“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

(Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass)

fast forward into the twentieth century and you can find THIS gem, which the power have taken to heart:
"“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

And today, we are blessed with foreign interference to stir up trouble between us Americans on our social media . . . and with that comes some whopper conspiracy theories . . .

but NOT to be outdone by the Russian Security Forces and their hackers, comes now a mystery 'source' called Q - anon (German word for 'source' is 'Quelle', hence the letter 'Q', no doubt borrowed from the same term used in connection with the unknown 'source' of the synoptics)

So it DOES require for American citizens facing an important national election to evaluate closely first their OWN values and what is important and meaningful to them; then to evaluate where the country is at and what its greatest needs are now; and what is on offer from the political parties and their candidates for high office and for the Senate, etc.

'being manipulated' is NOT in our best national interests in this country,
so it does pay to sort out one's choice deliberately, and carefully, and yes, even prayerfully. Our civic duty calls us to an honorable account, as our nation's soldiers have fought and even died in battle to preserve our right to vote in this free land, lest we forget.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RB Kuter said...

I believe our comments on Wade's blog represent the extreme polarization that has evolved in our nation.

We are incapacitated (in particular, government, in a dysfunctional, "shut-down") due to our demonizing those holding a position opposite of ours. We are incapable of objectively assessing the performance/proposal of "both" sides and acknowledging anything positive upon which we might pursue as mutually benefiting "we" as a whole. Our comments and responses on this site and all social media reflect this.

There has always been an element of this "polarizing", of course, but I personally don't recall it being as extreme as it is today. It has increased in its intensity to the point of rebellion against the system with revolt and attempting to overthrow our entire political structure. Example: two LA policemen ambushed while sitting in the patrol car and then crowd of protestors outside the hospital where they are being treated screaming, "We hope they die".

It is all about the "polarization" between the two sides, not racism or injustice, as evidenced by the identification of activists according to their political affiliation, not their race or ethnic origins.

The question arises in my mind, at least, whether this extremism will subside or can this more accurately be assessed as being the beginning of the end for society bringing us closer to the imminent time of tribulation.

Rex Ray said...


It’s a given, if guns were taken away, only bad people would have them.

If you were a police officer (one of the officers shot in the face was a woman), would you like the death penalty for those trying to kill you, or to hear “Violence must stop” ?

CM said...

Rex Ray,

Do you mean to imply that the death penalty should be applied for attempted murder (and only of police officers and nobody else)?

Rex Ray said...

I said “Biden made a statement that guns should be taken away”, but he didn’t say that. He said assault weapons should be taken away.

Why did Biden jump on that band wagon when the shooter used a regular pistol?

Rex Ray said...


Old friend, (I try to say something nice but true when I try to get something done.)

‘All comments must be approved by the blog author’ reminds me of Moses wearing himself out in hearing the complaints of the people. (Exodus 18:14-23)

Christiane said...

while considering sources of violence, take a look at these groups also:

Christiane said...


time-out for joy