• Today's Daily Devotion
All the Children of the World…
The time passed quickly that day, my first walk outside of the confines of a protective convoy in a village just south of Baghdad in early July, 2003. And our business ...

All the Children of the World…

Lt. Daniel Nichols, United States Navy Chaplain

The time passed quickly that day, my first walk outside of the confines of a protective convoy in a village just south of Baghdad in early July, 2003. And our business finished, we were about to depart when a young boy appeared before me, standing quietly and looking up at me through large bright eyes. His red shirt was tattered and dirty, but his smile and his countenance were as untarnished as a cloudless sky. Another boy who had been harrying me for money and attention received a quick elbow to the ribs in the way that young boys do, and moved off to other interests.

Thus, this young child, a boy of perhaps ten years of age watched me for a moment before saying in strongly accented English, “Thank you for freedom.” “America, I thank you.” “Mr. Bush” he kissed his curled finger in a sign meaning prayer and blessing and lifted it upward. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I replied and held out my hand to shake his. He had a strong grip for a small child. For a moment we simply studied one another as smiles blossomed on our faces. He pointed to the nametag on my uniform, which had my English name written in Arabic script.

“Schlonek,” he said, curiously, not sure what to make of my name.

Apparently the seamstress had sewn the letters from left to right as we read them in English. He read right to left.

“Nichols,” I corrected him and patted my chest. He then pointed again to the insignia below my name and read off the English letters one by one.

“LT, CHC, USNR United States it means. You are of United States,” he said, grinning at his newfound comprehension.

He smiled broad and wide. “Yes,” I smiled in return, reminded of my four children and wife back at home.

Again he repeated, “Thank you for freedom.”

And then I am whisked away, my mind fogging with the images, the smells, the poverty, and yet some small tangible sense that hope has been seeded into the next generation. These children represent the future of Iraq. They will grow up remembering the great changes brought to their nation. I shall pray for that hope, and I shall pray for the Iraqi people.

Prayer:

Thank you for the precious gift of children and the hope you give through them and for them.


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