After serving three years in the Army, thirty-one months of which were served in France, I arrived home in New York the day before my twenty-first birthday. Here’s how it went:
“The skyline of New York City came into view early on Sunday morning, January 12, 1964.”
“Our battered ship, bound for a major overhaul we heard, docked at Brooklyn Navy Yard. They marched us to the processing center, and I began my long-awaited separation from active duty. There was a form to sign stating I had no lingering health issues. Eager to get out, I ignored the back pain that resulted from my jeep accident and checked the box that said “None.” Next we stood in line to get paid: final monthly pay (prorated), unpaid leave, and anything else we were due. I received one hundred thirty-five dollars and change. The last line I ever stood in as a soldier in the US Army was the travel pay line. Guys in front of me were getting plane tickets to Los Angeles, train tickets to Pittsburg, and bus tickets to New Jersey. When I stepped up to the window, they handed me a subway token. Clad in my class A uniform and lugging my duffle bag, I trudged out into the street in search of the nearest subway station. I was home.”
Excerpt From: Robert Frohlich. “Aimless Life, Awesome God.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/aimless-life-awesome-god/id1129891739”
Those first weeks were hard, getting re-acquainted with my city, my country. I traveled to New Jersey that first weekend. My brother, John, was the star player on the high school basketball team and I went to a Friday night game. Before the game began, we all stood, facing the flag, as the national anthem was played and I cried. I love this country.
I cried again yesterday as I sat on the glider in back of the house. The day was cooling off some, and there in front of me was our tidy yard with colorful annual flowers, neatly mulched trees and newly-mown grass. I said to God, “How can you have given all this to me? I’ve done nothing to deserve it, yet here I live in this marvelous place, in the land of the free, where I can sit safely in my own backyard and worship you each week in the company of my fellow saved sinners.”
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…”
Psalms 103:1-2 (ESV)