Ready to Serve

At the age of 19, Kenneth Smith was a proud member of the Army Air Forces. He became a B-24 pilot and served in WWII. Smith was shot down and held captive for five-and-a-half months at a prisoner of war camp in northern Germany. He was finally set free in 1945.

Kenneth Smith continued his career in the military, serving as a pilot for 19 years. He was intensely patriotic, as witnessed by the many photos he displayed that recorded the history of his military service.

Later in his life, Kenneth Smith was living in a nursing home, facing a different type of battle—he had Alzheimer’s disease. On a good day he would be able to recognize his daughter, Merrilinda, when she came to pay him a visit. Most days he did not know her.

One day when Merrilinda went to visit her father, she stayed longer than usual. It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Kenneth and Merrilinda spent that day the same way most Americans did—glued to the television set—watching the horrible events of the day unfold as the United States endured a vicious terrorist attack.

Even though he had Alzheimer’s, that patriotic military man understood that his beloved country was under attack. And with clear eyes and a strong voice, he turned to his daughter and said, “Merrilinda, get me my uniform!”

What a heart for his country that old man had! And that is just the kind of heart that Jesus wants you to have for his kingdom!


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