A day of honor

Published 8:04 pm Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dec. 7 will always be a day we look back upon as a day of infamy, just like Pres. F.D.R. said we would do in his famous speech announcing our joining the Allied Forces and the call to war.

It was the day the 353 Japanese Imperial planes struck our Naval fleet by surprise in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor, costing a loss of 2,403 lives and greatly damaging and destroying most of our war ships and numerous aircraft.

It was a most moving event here in the Brookhaven area, with the remains of a sailor being brought home who was a victim of that terrible debacle.

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Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston, who was killed at Pearl Harbor in the attack on the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941 was brought home to be placed near his birth home of Wesson.

The event caught the country’s attention and was aired nation wide.

One of my close friends, J.D. Johnson of Monticello was asked to join the many folks who lined Hwy. 51 in Wesson to welcome home this local hero posthumously.

He told me it was a most emotional occasion to see the many residents and citizens of the area turn out to commemorate the fallen

How fitting was that to take place on the Pearl Harbor Day 2016 the 75th anniversary.

I was in Brookhaven as well but unaware of this noble event but here for a monthly devotional for Troop M out at the district offices on Hwy. 84 as their chaplain.

While there and just before our devotion started the parents of the late Officer Jason Powell (Badge #25) came in to bring a color, framed photo of their son who perished in a car wreck while on patrol.

He had attended Troop M’s annual Christmas party and while finishing up his patrol on the way home afterward was killed in a single car accident this very same week two years ago.

Officer Powell’s 2008 Dodge pickup had a tire blowout, veered off the road and flipped over. The wreck happened at 11:25 p.m. that Thursday night on Hwy. 24.

Larry and Pat Powell wanted their son to be remembered there in the office where he was based until his untimely death at 39.

It will be hung where all can see and not forget.

They also came to look me up as they are faithful readers of my newspaper columns and shared with me their on-going grief over their son’s death.

I had prepared a wooden image of the Magnolia State from cypress wood for the 28 active troopers to hand out for a Christmas gift.

They were on a table for each officer to come and pick out the one that they liked best as all were different in color patterns and grain.

So I reached and picked one up and handed it to Powells as a token of appreciation.

As I handed the board to them I told them that scientists say they believe there is life on other planets and worlds elsewhere.

I cannot attest to that statement but what I can say is even if so it is this planet and world Jesus loves most as it is where He planted the cross and shed His blood.

I went on to tell the Powells there are 50 states in our great country but there is only one their son loved and died for literally, the great State of Mississippi.

I shall never forget the sacredness of that moment standing with those parents in Troop M headquarters that day.

These brave officers pledge to give their life if necessary defending all of us who drive the roads and highways of this state.

We could not safely go anywhere if it were not for them out and about making sure the drunk drivers are removed and the speed limits enforced.

Every one of them is at risk every time they go on patrol and sadly on occasion, pay the ultimate price.

Hardly a week passes some policeman or peace officer is gunned down somewhere.

With some disoriented people shamelessly taking a knee when the anthem is played in disrespect toward law enforcement and a trend I hope soon ends, what a wonderful reprieve it was on this day.

Yes, what a day of honor Dec. 7, 2016 was for all of us who happened to be in the Brookhaven area.

We salute the men and women in blue and those who serve our flag in the military.

Mike Dykes is a pastor and story teller. He can be reached at angelsmannow@yahoo.com.