Former Army Chief of Chaplains shares 9/11 story at West Point
September 14, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 14, 2011) -- Retired Maj. Gen. David Hicks, former Army Chief of Chaplains, spoke at a Cadet Chapel service Sunday about his journey of faith.
Many are brought up learning the religion of their parents or developing their beliefs through searching, Hicks told the congregation. Some do not hold a particular belief, but experience a spiritual awakening sometimes later in life.
"I dropped out of high school and was living a life that wasn't Christian. I was living hard and partying harder. But I came to know God," Hicks said. "I enlisted in the Army at 17. I took a GED test and when I was discharged, I didn't know what the results would be, but I ended up receiving a high enough grade to enter college."
While in the Army, Hicks thought he had hit rock bottom when he was asked to escort Soldiers to a chapel for service, but something in the chaplain's message that day caught his attention.
Hicks went to see the chaplain and ended up pouring his heart out. The chaplain listened and then asked him "Sergeant, how would you like to start life all over again?"
"I didn't know what to say, I didn't think I could," Hicks said.
The chaplain explained that God would take you just as you are and the Bible says "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"We've all chosen to live life our own way, broken God's rules and disobeyed his laws," Hicks said. "The Bible calls this sin and sin becomes an instant barrier between God and man."
Hicks is a graduate of United Wesleyan College, Princeton Theology seminary and Duke University. He was discharged as an infantry staff sergeant in 1967, and re-entered the Army as a chaplain in 1974 after being ordained a Presbyterian minister.
Hicks retired as the 21st Chief of Chaplains in 2007.
Hicks was at the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001. He had a hectic day seeing his wife to the train station to be with their daughter and granddaughter in Pennsylvania.
"I remember sitting in my office and turning the television on," Hicks said. "As time went on, what I thought was just an accident, was not. We watched as the planes hit the Twin Towers and amazed that the Pentagon seemed to be spared. Then as I turned to my computer I heard a slight thud."
"Then, I heard footsteps above me," he said. "And I realized that God was on patrol. Many of us will always remember 9/11, some celebrate birthdays on 9/11, like my niece, whose birthday will never be the same. So today, we pause to remember and to do what all people of faith do; to honor and pray."