I had another military first yesterday: the Spiritual Fitness Luncheon (formerly the Prayer Breakfast)
Jon described it as a "military potluck"- except, instead of endless (delicious) pasta dishes, green bean casserole, and jello desserts as far as the eye can see, it was catered: roasted chicken, vegetables, and beef stroganoff. The head table was full of area pastors and leaders. Anyone there who wasn't garbed in ACUs (the new digital cammo) was quite dressed up (boy, was I glad I decided last minute to wear a casual skirt instead of jeans!)
There were about 500 people attending, mostly soldiers. The special speaker was Mark Richt, the University of Georgia head football coach. He spoke of going into battle- whether on the football field or the sandbox- and the things necessary for success- the biggest of which is spiritual readiness. I thought he did a good job of emphasizing that football doesn't come close to being the same as the Army, while drawing in the comparisons.
I think the most moving part of the ceremony was when a young soldier sang "It is Well." The 6 people sitting at the table with Jon and me are all deploying next week... as are many of the other soldiers who were there (nothing makes you want to be "spiritually fit" like an imminent trip to a combat zone...). Keep these men and women in your prayer.
On a lighter note, my personal favorite part of the ceremony was right before the benediction, when all the soldiers joined together to sing the Ft. Stewart song- "Dogface Soldier" (lyrics follow, click here to hear Ft. Stewart soldiers sing it!). I think it's because my first encounter with soldiers singing was at my brother's boot camp graduation- ever since then, it just cracks me up... probably because my brother isn't one who exactly sings for fun, yet there he was in chorus with all of his fellow graduates. Soldiers singing is always fun for me.
I wouldn't give a bean
To be a fancy-pants Marine;
I'd rather be a Dogface Soldier like I am.
I wouldn't trade my old O.D.'s
For all the Navy's dungarees,
For I'm the walking pride of Uncle Sam.
On all the posters that I read it says,
"Be all that you can!"
So they're tearing me down to build me over again.
I'm just a Dogface Soldier
With a rifle on my shoulder,
And I eat raw meat for breakfast every day.
So feed me ammunition,
Keep me in the Third Division,
Your Dogfaced Soldier's A-Okay!