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

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Lt. General Raymond S. McLain, Oklahoma Citizen Soldiers, and the 45th Infantry (The Thunderbirds)

    (PIECE of JAKE) Photo by Bell, Signal Photo Company, SC 18687. Credit NARA. 367. "MM-5-151943"

On Christmas Day 2020, the colorized photograph above appeared in my Facebook feed. I knew immediately that I was looking at something extraordinary. 

These were American soldiers fighting during World War II. 

The Thunderbird Patch
They were praying. 

The photo caption said it was Christmas Day 1943, and these soldiers were praying before Christmas dinner on the Italian front. 

After carefully looking at the photo, I realized these soldiers were not regular army soldiers. They were National Guard "citizen-soldiers."  

And they were from Oklahoma.

These men were farmers, lawyers, teachers, and businessmen back in Oklahoma. But on this day, Christmas Day 1943, south of Rome, they were fighting the Axis powers that they might "give humanity another chance." 

These soldiers were called Thunderbirds, members of the highly decorated Oklahoma National Guard and the 45th Infantry Division that helped the United States win World War II. You can see the Thunderbird patch on the left arm of the soldier that is standing just to the right of Chaplain Harvey Floyd Bell. Chaplain Bell is identified by the traditional chaplain's patch on his left arm,  a red cross on white cloth.

The Thunderbirds route to Rome
Six months before this photo was taken, the Thunderbirds had invaded the island of Sicily.  Using Sicily as their base, the Oklahoma boys stormed the Italian mainland, going ashore at the beaches of Salerno, Italy, on September 10, 1943 (see photo to the left).

The Thunderbirds then moved north, fighting their way toward Rome. It took several days to cross the Colore and Volturno rivers. After crossing the rivers, the soldiers found themselves involved in fierce battles near the Italian city of Venafro. Majestic mountains surround this picturesque Italian city. 

The fighting lasted 40 days and was known as "the days of mud, mules, and mountains." Battling the cold, the wet weather, fatigue, and the tortuous mountain trails that were too steep and winding for jeeps to pass, the Thunderbirds faced extreme peril. The Germans' fanatical resistance and the introduction of the "screaming mimis" - fierce artillery fire that issued screeching screams as it flew toward the soldiers -  it seemed impossible for the Oklahoma boys to take the town and the mountains filled with German troops.  Yet, against all odds, the Thunderbirds opened and secured a pathway to Rome.  The Oklahoma citizen-soldiers made the regular army marvel at their toughness and spirit. 

General Raymond S. McLain
The man responsible for preparing the Oklahoma National Guard to enter World War II was General Raymond Stallings McLain (b. 1890 - d. 1954). 

McLain himself served as a citizen-soldier in Oklahoma, just like the men he commanded. 

Born in Kentucky, McLain moved with his parents in 1907 to the new state of Oklahoma. He was seventeen years of age when he took a job as a clerk for an Oklahoma City abstract office. McLain also joined the newly formed Oklahoma National Guard. 

Although McLain's formal education ended in the sixth grade while in Kentucky, he never stopped learning. McLain taught himself the banking and abstract business, eventually starting his own title and abstract company in Oklahoma City in his early twenties. 


McLain fought with distinction in Europe as a captain, commanding a machine gun company.  Upon returning to Oklahoma City after World War I, McLain went back into the title business, later merging his small company with a larger one. In 1919, at age 29, McLain became president of that merged company. He then began personally buying and selling real estate in a small suburb of Oklahoma City called Edmond

McLain was an excellent businessman. He was even a better soldier. McLain remained in the Oklahoma National Guard after World War I. He became an original member of the Oklahoma Thunderbirds 45th Infantry Division at its formation in 1924. For the next twelve years, he served on weekends as a citizen-soldier. In 1937, McLain attended the Special Command and General Staff Class for Guard and Reserve officers at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon graduation, he became a Brigadier General of the Oklahoma National Guard. 

General McLain was appointed Chief of Staff of the 45th National Guard Division (Thunderbirds). In the years preceding World War II, McLain drilled the troops meticulously. He demanded that all his subordinate officers train their men knowing they might soon be in a very real war.

There could be no shortcuts and no compromise in training. McClain is the reason the citizen-soldiers of Oklahoma became such excellent fighting men. 

When World War II began, the Thunderbirds were ready. They fought with honor and discipline through the end of the war, eventually freeing the inmates at Dachau Concentration Camp

Normandy, where Gen. McLain distinguished himself as commander of the 90th Infantry Division

McLain himself fought with distinction at Sicily, in Italy, and on the beaches of Normandy. The Army needed his leadership. During the Battle of Normandy in August 1944, McLain briefly took command of the 90th Infantry Division, a division that had numerous command problems and was in need of a strong commander. He quickly transformed the 90th into a first-class fighting formation, just as he had done with the Oklahoma Thunderbirds. McLain led the 90th across France in the Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine, leading them to victory in numerous battles along the Western Front

In October 1944, McLain assumed command of the XIX Corps and remained the commander of the XIX Corps for the rest of the war. General Raymond Stallings McLain was the only National Guardsman to command a corps during World War II combat. McClain was the first guardsman to be given a battlefield promotion of two stars, and the first citizen soldier to command an army corps in battle since Dan Sickles raised a corps in New York and led it to Gettysburg. McLain's XIX Corps defeated the Germans at Julich, improbably conquering the 600-year-old German fortress that the Allied forces deemed near impregnable. General Dwight D. Eisenhower credited the Allied victory at Julich to General McLain's aggressive tactics.

Maj. Gen. McLain, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lt. Gen. William Simpson at Julich Fortress, Nov. 1944

 

"General McLain in his person, elevated and gave great distinction to the term ‘citizen soldier, ” said General George C. Marshall in 1949.

 

Tulsa McLain High School
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame inducted Raymond S. McLain in its class of 1945. McLain Magnet High School for Science and Technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also known as Tulsa McClain High School, took its name in honor of General McLain. 

Fort Leavenworth inducted Raymond McLain into its Hall of Fame. To this day, General McClain remains the only National Guardsman so honored by Fort Leavenworth.

The prestigious LIEUTENANT GENERAL RAYMOND S. McLAIN MEDAL was established in 1999 and is awarded annually to a serving or former member of the United States National Guard who has contributed most to the advancement of the goal of the Association of the United States Army, the goal of a seamless and component-integrated U.S. Army.

For McLain's distinguished service in the war, he was appointed a brigadier general in the Regular Army. Later, he became the comptroller of the United States Army and was appointed the army's first statutory comptroller general. At the time of his death in 1954, he served on President Dwight D. Eisenhower's National Security Training Commission.

Raymond Stallings McLain died at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C., on December 14, 1954, at 64.

Lieutenant General McLain's ribbon bar:

Lieutenant General McLain's decorations include Distinguished Service Cross with Oak leaf Cluster (Sicily, 1943 and France, 1944), the Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak leaf Cluster (France, 1944 and Germany, 1945), Silver Star (Italy, 1943), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak leaf Cluster (Italy, 1944 and Germany, 1945), Mexican Border Service Medal, World War I Victory Medal with two battle clasps, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver and three bronze service stars and Arrowhead device, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, French Croix de Guerre 1939–1945, Grand officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau with swordsCommander of the Order of Leopold II and Belgian Croix de Guerre.

AND NOW THE REST OF THE STORY...

Robert McLain had an eye for real estate. While scouring far north Oklahoma City in the late 1920s, about three miles south of downtown Edmond, Oklahoma, McLain spotted an ideal property to buy for himself and a group of six investors, all fellow officers in the Oklahoma National Guard. McLain described the large property as "a beautiful piece of wooded high ground." General McLain would build for himself a "two-story log cabin" near Eastern Avenue, calling his home Tree Tops. McLain, his wife, son, and daughters all lived at Tree Tops during the 1930s. The family remained behind at Tree Tops when General McLain went to Europe to fight during World War II. 

Tree Tops - The Home of Raymond McLain - Hand-painted for a Mrs. Akright Christmas Card

According to the official biography of General McClain, written by Raymond's daughter, Dr. Betty McLain Belvin, Tree Tops House played a vital role in the formation of McLain's leadership skills and ultimate success on the battlefield during World War II. Betty Belvin writes:
"McLain would study military problems long into the night at Tree Tops, at first by gaslight and then by windmill-generated electric light. He talked over historic battles with his friends (the other officers who owned homes at Reveille Retreat), knowing full well that rumors of genocide and of madman Adolf Hitler's theats in Mein Kampf would have to be reckoned with." 

Tree Tops was McLain's dream home, reminding him of his roots in Kentucky. But after World War II, when the Army asked General McLain to serve as the United States Army's comptroller with the rank of Brigadier General in the Regular Army, McLain decided to sell his log home and move to Washington D.C.  The McLain family sold Tree Tops to the Akright family. 

Though seven Oklahoma National Guard officers built their homes in the wooded area the men called Reveille Retreat, I will highlight only two more.

Raymond McClain's son, Ray Jr., became fast friends with oilman Baird Markham's son, Baird Jr. The elder Markham had been promoted to Brigadier General of the Oklahoma National Guard in 1923. General Baird's son and General McClain's son would often play together in the Reveille Retreat woods. 

The McClain and Markham houses were joined by many footpaths through the woods. In 1937, at age 21, Baird Markham Jr. would make national headlines after he was kidnapped for ransom while out examining an oil lease for his father near Ada, Oklahoma. Baird Jr. was kidnapped by Charles Chapman and Pete Traxel, two men at the top of America's Most Wanted list, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Markham Kidnapping, as well as the Charles Urschel kidnapping, were instrumental in saving J. Edgar Hoover from being fired as FBI Director by President Franklin Roosevelt.

Col. Bolend, Chief Surgeon, 45th Infantry
Another home, just northwest of McLain's Tree Tops log house, was built by Colonel Rex Bolend. Col. Bolend, a private practice physician (urologist), served as the Chief Surgeon for the 45th Infantry. Bolend built a log home similar to the two-story Tree Tops house that McClain had built. 

Rex Bolend called his home at Reveille Retreat the Dormar House. The name came from the first three initials of Colonel Bolend's daughter Dorothy and the first three initials of his wife Martha.  Colonel Bolend, General McLain, and General Markham, were close friends, as were the other four officers who built a total of seven homes in Reveille Retreat. All of them were outstanding soldiers for the United States. The road that connected Tree Tops with Dormar House and the other officer's homes was appropriately called Reveille Road.

The elegant and peaceful log homes built in the beautiful woods north of Oklahoma City, about three miles south of downtown Edmond and just east of Eastern Road, are a tribute to a much simpler time in the life of America.  

In 1950, Colonel Rex Bolend sold Dormar House to my grandfather Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry and my grandmother Virginia (Salyer) Cherry. My grandfather, a former All-Big 6 tight end for the University of Oklahoma, scored the first touchdown in the newly opened Cotton Bowl when Oklahoma played Texas in the fall of 1930. More importantly, my grandfather joined the Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) while at the University of Oklahoma, and he drilled under all the Colonels and Generals who built their homes in Reveille Retreat. Fred T. Cherry joined other Oklahoma National Guardsmen in fighting the Germans during World War II. My grandfather drove a jeep with John 3:16 emblazoned on the side, and fought with other 45th Infantrymen (The Thunderbirds) from Oklahoma in the southern portion of the Battle of the Bulge

After the war, my father used his petroleum engineering degree to take a job in the oil fields of East Texas. That's where he met my grandmother. Soon, my father decided to give up "the oil business" and become an evangelist. His friendship with the ROTC officers at Reveille Retreat, and his notoriety as an Oklahoma football and track star, probably helped secure the purchase of Colonel Rex Bolend's home for this young, but growing Cherry family. 

My mother, Mary Cherry (Burleson), was a young girl when she and her siblings moved into what they came to call "Cherry Hollow." She and her brothers and sisters have fond memories of walking down Reveille Road (see the modern Google map below), fishing in the man-made muddy lake at the bottom of Tree Tops, and exploring the creeks, woods, and hills of the Reveille Retreat. 



My mother first met my father, Paul Burleson, when he visited my grandfather Fred Cherry one afternoon in late 1957 at the Dormar House.  Fred Cherry had become an evangelist after his Oklahoma football days and short oilfield career. My father was a young music evangelist scheduled to lead music at one of Fred Cherry's evangelistic revivals. Paul Burleson walked into Dormar House  to talk with Fred Cherry about the evangelistic meeting and met Fred's daughter, Mary Cherry, on Christmas Day 1957. Two nights later, December 27, 1957, my mother came to hear her father preach and her future husband lead the music. Their relationship began at Dormar House.

A red rose by the long gravel drive that leads down to Cherry Hollow in Edmond, Oklahoma.

I have many memories of spending holidays with my maternal Cherry family at the house. I remember repairing a fence with my grandfather Fred Cherry, one of my clearest memories of spending time with him as a boy. My grandparents are now gone, and my uncle, Fred Cherry, now lives at Dormar House, the place we now call Cherry Hollow. Fred has turned the property into a one-of-a-kind country showpiece. 

The wooded Reveille Retreat area is no longer in "the middle of nowhere." In 1957, Oklahoma Christian University built its campus a half-mile north of Cherry Hollow. Modern subdivisions now surround the old Dormar House, but the oak and blackjack trees remain so thick, and the driveways so long, once you arrive in the woods, it still feels like you are in the middle of the woods. It must be close to the same feeling that General McLain, General, Markham, Colonel Bolend, and the other National Guard officers felt when they built and lived in their homes nearly a century ago. All of these men of Reveille Retreat played a significant role in the Allied Forces winning World War II.

Of the seven homes that the officers of the Oklahoma National Guard built at Reveille Retreat during the late 1920s and early 1930s, only Dormar House remains (now Fred Cherry's home). General McClain's home, purchased by the Akright family, burned to the ground in a fire caused by a floor furnace during Thanksgiving Week, 1975. General Raymond S. McLain, the original purchaser of the property he and his friends called Reveille Retreat, died of leukemia at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. on December 14, 1954. To this day, Raymond McLain remains the most decorated National Guard officer in the history of the American military.

Dormar House, now maintained with exquisite country beauty by Fred Cherry, the author's uncle.


A back bedroom on the second floor of Dormar House (now called Cherry Hollow)

One of the advantages of knowing history is the ability to have one's soul anchored by the past and built for hope in the future. Reveille Retreat in Edmond and the old Dormar House (our Cherry Hollow), does both for me. 

The Burlesons eating dinner at Cherry Hollow on Labor Day, 2020

As 2020 comes to a close and we begin another year, I am grateful for God's grace in being a Christian, an Oklahoman, an American, a historian, and someone who never takes for granted the people of our past, the special moments of our present, and the marvelous hope for a bright future because our God is good and gracious all the time.

I leave you with a memorable violin solo played for us on the second floor of the Dormar House by Fred Cherry as we ate dinner there on Labor Day 2020. As you listen to Fred Cherry play, say a prayer for all the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces. As I listen, I'll give thanks to God for all those who've risked their lives that Americans might be able to live in a country of peace and liberty. Thank you, General McLain, General Markham, Colonel Bolend, and all the other Oklahoma National Guard officers  (Thunderbirds) who built your homes at Reveille Retreat. Thank you for defeating the Nazis during World War II that we might enjoy a peaceful, family dinner at the place you once called home.  

Happy New Year to all my family and friends! 




10 comments:

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Our Dad, in Patten’s Fourth Armored Division, went ashore at Normandy three days later. He stayed on the front lines until Germany surrendered.

I really enjoyed your “Rest of the Story”. Our uncle, Hez Ray, was a World War I veteran.

Once he got the ‘itch’ to move to Arkansas, but came back, placed his hands on his log house saying, “God bless these old logs.” His house was a mile from where we live now.

Christiane said...

What a beautiful post, WADE.

Thank you for sharing this tribute to the honorable Gen. McClain and to those who fought with him those many years ago;
and to the story of a family that still graces that lovely home which I hope will be long preserved as a 'homeplace' for posterity.

My maternal family's past is much scarred by another war of division, as is the family home which bears the mark of a canon-ball in its external chimney works and also the scars of many civil war bullets;
but my maternal grandmother was born in that home in the late 18OO's and it still stands today in Plymouth NC, now called 'the Ausbon House' (my grandmother was an Ausbon).

We Americans are a part of the great history of a nation that will, I hope, always remember that division can never be permanent in a land where a truly united people stood up against the Nazi evil and defeated it so that we may live in freedom from demagogues.

https://webcroft.blogspot.com/2008/10/ausbon-house-plymouth-nc.html

Muff Potter said...

My dad's youngest brother (uncle Harley) was killed driving the Wehrmacht out of Italy.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Congratulations! That was a cute way of showing you solved the riddle. 😊

Talked to ‘boss’ of The Leader today, about the comment I’d asked them to print. Told him I wouldn’t mind if they only printed the story about the dying soldier since my wife said I was bragging too much.
He said, “No, we’re printing all of it.” So next Tuesday this will be in it.

Rex Ray’s memories and belief about COVID-19
Our father, Dave Ray, was in World War I. Because of his age, he was rejected for World War II until Sam Rayburn got him in the army as a Chaplain. He wanted to go to Vietnam, and kept trying to see LBJ until the Secret Service told him, “Listen old man; go home, or we’re putting you in jail!”
When he was in World War II, at a first-aid tent, doctors said they couldn’t stop a soldier from bleeding to death. The soldier asked him to write a letter to his family saying: “Yesterday, I thought I was going to be killed. I prayed to Jesus to save me. He stepped into my heart and I was so happy, I thought I’d live forever. Don’t know why I was hit today, but tell my mother, I’ll meet her in heaven.”
His family was broken-hearted after receiving a telegram telling their son was killed in action. They knew he wasn’t a Christian. After receiving Dad’s letter, the soldier’s mother wrote him: “You’ll never know how much your letter meant to us.”
I was named after our uncle, Rex Ray who was a missionary to China 30 years. Since I am 88, I’ve traveled many roads.
After the war, we were with our father where we attended the Nuremberg Trials, stood where Hitler shot himself, and was restrained behind the Russian Iron Curtin for not having the proper papers.
I won my age group at a Dallas Triathlon and on one of my five trips to Israel, I swam four miles across the Sea of Galilee.
I’ve made 13 mission building trips to Japan, and one to Kyrgyzstan (near China.) It may be a hundred years behind the world; a lumberyard delivered wood on a wagon pulled by horses.
I’m retired from LTV where I designed the tool for the Space Shuttle nosecone. My ‘Bucket List’ is to get the name “LBJ Freeway” in Dallas, Texas changed to ‘JFK Freeway’ because I believe the book, “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing” written by my friend, James Tague of Bonham, Texas. His book, proves LBJ had JFK murdered by LBJ’s employee, Mac Wallace, whose fingerprints were found in the ‘Sniper’s Window’. I was one of 16 people that went to Tague’s funeral 5 months after his book was published.
It’s hard to explain why I believe COVID-19 is only the common flu we have every year because The Leader (to protect itself) told me I couldn’t quote what some doctors and ‘experts’ have proved, but only what I think. At one time I drank the ‘Cool-Aid’ and paid $200 to be tested negative for COVID-19. I believe reported deaths by heart disease and cancer are down because the government pays hospitals money if it’s reported the person dies of the virus. I believe: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) America needs to be free again.

Gerry Milligan said...

Wade, in the middle of a pandemic where over 300,000 souls have died, I do not see social distancing nor life-saving masks being used at the Labor-day meal. Poor example of responsible behavior.

Wade Burleson said...

Gerry,

"I do not see social distancing nor life-saving masks being used at the Labor-day meal."

No, and you won't see it at Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, or any other special Burleson family gathering.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Christiane said...

REX RAY,
your story about the soldier's conversion before his death AND his dying message to his mother is a winner.

I can't imagine our military forces going to war without our chaplains. Like my Navy nurse niece said from Iraq, 'there are no words' when standing in the presence of a young soldier dying of his wounds . . . our chaplains understand this well.

We don't understand the 'loss' of those young men and women who serve our nation, but they go to war FOR us, FOR each other . . . their loss cannot be 'measured' in Earth terms, no. They belong to the ages of the ages, these young people. And the blood they shed is what makes our votes a sacred duty to see that freedom from tyranny prevails, that they should not have died in vain. We owe that to them. To their memory eternal.

You must do your own thinking about the 'virus' but I do encourage you to take precautions because I trust the science and the medical community way more that the conspiracy theories, and I want what is best for those who are vulnerable. In that way, I ask the Good Lord to look out for you and yours, knowing that is the best I can do under the circumstances. One thing: check your 'sources' of information. That's important.

The new riddle?
no clue :) LOL

Anonymous said...

Wade, thanks for all the helpful blog posts you’ve taken the time to generate!

Rex, hope you enjoy the new year too.

Here’s another insightful article that you may find helpful.

“Here is one example of how the trick may play out. A toxin creates a disease. The toxin might be pesticides or industrial pollution or wireless technology radiation. The toxin damages millions of people and their communities. Companies or their insurance provider may be liable for civil or criminal violations. A virus is blamed. A “cure” is found in a “vaccine.” The pesticide or other toxic exposure is halted just as the vaccine is introduced, and presto, the sickness goes away. The vaccine is declared a success, and the inventor is declared a hero. A potential financial catastrophe has been converted to a profit, including for investors and pension funds. As a portfolio strategist, I admit it has been a brilliant trick and likely has protected the insurance industry from the bankrupting losses it would experience if it had to fairly compensate the people and families destroyed.”

https://jamesfetzer.org/2020/07/catherine-austin-fitts-the-injection-fraud-its-not-a-vaccine/

Most Americans cannot even begin to comprehend that their own government is guilty of such wicked crimes.


Christiane said...

REX RAY,
my 'better' response to the many conspiracy theories out there that allow for our imaginations to question 'what is real, what is 'truthful', might be better expressed in the way I wrote this for Dr. Roger Olson's blog some time during Advent Season:


" . . . if I were to focus on the definition of 'truth' as 'what is real'; comes to mind that children's story, 'The Velveteen Rabbit', like the ‘Skin Horse’ and the ‘Rabbit’ inter-change in that old and very famous children’s story:

“””What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day . . . .

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time.

That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

I can't get that simple children's story out of my mind when I hear 'What is real'? And then in the story, of the Skin Horse, is said 'for he was always truthful'
and also the thought, that maybe being 'real' has to do with "coming down to where we ought to be" as in the old hymn. To become humble to the point where we no longer easily take offense at the judgment of others or their criticism of us - a kind of 'detachment' from circumstances that allows us to 'be' comfortable in our own selves without having to worry about the opinion of others that we might have previously taken to heart to define ourselves. If that is 'real', then that level of humility is also very freeing so that we can be who we really are as a kind of self-acceptance of 'reality' . . . . an arrival at a point in our formation that allows us to be 'true to self' and 'to others' also? This kind of 'humility' seems to me to be quite the opposite of 'weakness', and so much more a position that places us in this world to be more of help to others by not being so judgmental of them and of enabling us to see them with some compassion for their own woundedness that has brought them to 'lash out' at us and others.
I think of that kind of 'humility' as being something that can be very healing in its ability to have 'good will' even in difficult personal circumstances, perhaps so much more a humane experiencing of God's grace than not, but I digress with the obvious connection between 'humility' and the gift of 'grace'.

What is 'real'? Something 'universally' true? I suppose the Incarnation offers to us the possibility of coming closer to 'truth' than might have been possible for our humankind. That possibility would make the Event Incarnation a portal back to 'Eden' BEFORE our knowledge of 'good and evil' had left us too disabled to handle the consequences of what had been forbidden to our knowing. A time of 'simplicity' interrupted? The portal? Well there is a verse that offers insight into what became possible for ALL of humanity through the infinite power flowing from the Paschal Mysteries of Our Lord:

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
(2 Cor. 11:3)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
“Chaplain Bell is identified by the traditional chaplain's patch on his left arm, a red cross on white cloth.”

That patch on his arm identified him as a medic. See Google

https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Features/story/Article/2115192/medical-improvements-saved-many-lives-during-world-war-ii/