By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 21, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 21, 2013) -- Members of the local community came together at The Landing Feb. 13 for the annual National Prayer Breakfast to pray for the nation, the American Family and Soldier, and Fort Rucker.
It is important to recognize the spiritual needs of Soldiers, staff, and everyone in between, according to Chaplain (Col.) Dennis Newton, garrison and U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence chaplain.
"We are a spiritual people, Americans. You get to a point where you recognize that there is something beyond you, greater than you, that you need to say, 'It isn't about me.' So, regardless of who came today and who they are, we understand that it is about the free exercise of religion. The majority of Soldiers hold these spiritual values, and we want to honor that," said Newton.
Netta Wiley, Fort Rucker Internal Review Office, said that the ceremony taught her a lovely lesson about how everyone needs to do their duty and obey their king, whoever their king may be.
"It is nice to see leadership at least host this for us to come to and participate. It is very nice that we can come together in this spiritual manner," she said, adding that it had extra significance to her being held on Ash Wednesday this year.
The breakfast was established by Dwight. D. Eisenhower in 1952, and according to Justin Mitchell, Fort Rucker deputy garrison commander, the day brings together all sorts of people from all walks of life.
"We came together to seek favor from God, to honor him, and to pray for freedom, the American Soldier and the nation," he said.
Chaplain (Capt.) Paul Cartmill prayed for America's honor, valor, integrity and honesty, and that all of "these attributes be lived throughout our land today."
Chaplain (Maj.) Chris Offen prayed for the people of the nation to "think of those who came before and sacrificed so much so as we might serve and inspire those who will come after us. Let us remain strong and free, and remain a beacon of hope through all the world."
Chaplain (Capt.) Tim Gresham thanked God for military Families and their selfless support to their Soldiers.
"Thank you for their persistence and dedication in the face of so many difficulties. I ask that you bless them for their sacrifices," he prayed.
The guest speaker was retired Chaplain (Col.) Alvin "Sonny" Moore III, who has touched many lives, according to Col. Douglas M Gabram, USAACE deputy commander.
"Many of us will not touch the magnitude of people like he has," he said.
Moore said that throughout the past 100 years the person to make the greatest difference is the American Soldier.
"America owes a debt to the American Soldier that she can never pay. They give so much and they ask so little," he said.
Moore compared the story of King David of the Bible going after captured women and children, and the struggle of his men having to either be a war fighter or a "stuff watcher" to the battle that many Soldiers face at Fort Rucker today.
"[King David] told 200 [men] in his Army that they had to stay back and guard the stuff, to stay with the supplies and the logistics. To the others he said, 'Strap on your swords -- this is the big one.' We have always thought it was the big one, every time we go overseas.
"Back when I was stationed here at Fort Rucker, no one wanted to stay back home, everyone wanted to go and be a war fighter, but everyone, just like David's men, finds out that it was and is very important," he said.
Moore continued with his sermon, asking why it is important for some to stay behind.
"Well, No. 1 it is important because the king said so. And that is reason enough; that is what good Soldiers do. They didn't get a say in it and he didn't have to give any reason, they are just supposed to obey.
"The second reason is because it was important, valuable stuff to watch over. They had to be the rear detachment. It is important to take care of Families. This training base is important. This is important [business] that we do here; guarding the stuff. Working on these helicopters, keeping these birds in the air is important.
"The third part to obey to stick by the stuff is because the king is coming back one day. We are going through tough times and we have to have a firm foundation, and part of that is staying by the stuff," he said.
More finished his sermon by saying it takes three things to win a war: a capable military, resolute leadership and the will of the people.
"You can watch, you can run, or you can help -- that is what it's going to take. There are three types of people in life -- people that watch things happen, people who make things happen, and people who don't know what is happening," he said. "I don't want to watch things happen and I am too old to run very far, but I want to help and that is my challenge to you. I challenge you to help."