My Father’s Voice

I lied. I can’t keep quiet! One more post — a follow-up to “Memorial Day 2018” — before retreating to the north woods.

Dad on board ship

Rev. Kenneth Campbell Stewart, my father the chaplain, on board ship to Saipan, World War II.

My father was the Army Air Force Chaplain leading worship for the troops on board ship on their way to the South Pacific in World War II. Dad is buried in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pennsylvania.

He was honored with a 21 gun salute, which, years later, I blamed for my hearing loss.
“Have you worked around loud noises? You have the ears of a forty-five year-old jack hammer operator,” said the audiologist. “No,” I said, “my mother’s deaf as a post.”

But my mother and I did listen to Dad’s preaching after he returned from the war. His words were soft-spoken. Peaceful and comforting. But there were times when his words from the pulpit afflicted the comfortable and rattled the saber-rattlers who glorified war and militarism. He preached the gospel, and, because he did and I heard it, I chose to follow in his footsteps. I chose to preach the gospel.

On Memorial Day 2018 on my way to the Minnesota wetland, I hear the echo of Taps from a bugler at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and remember Dad and the fallen he buried. Sometimes the dead still speak.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 29, 2018.

 

6 thoughts on “My Father’s Voice

  1. Your father was a wonderful preacher, though these days “preaching” has come to have all the wrong connotations. He did indeed speak softly preaching the gospel in a wonderful voice, which he carried into his singing. Both your folks were, next to Mom and Dad, the biggest influence in my early life, and they remain in the same place now.

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    • Carolyn, our folks were together until the end. Like our parents, their children do follow. So glad for the friendship, and for your words here about Mom and Dad. Your father is the only person who ever picked me up and hanged (or is it ‘hung’?) me from my feet as a form of Sunday School discipline!

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      • Traditionally, hung is best here. Hanged was reserved for death by hanging. But language keeps on changing, so son it could be ok to use either. Someone speculated that this is so because death by hanging is so infrequent anymore. Astonishing, the information one can find online.😉 Yes Dad was, every way, a Kidder.

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