“All the Gallant Men: The First Memoir by a USS Arizona Survivor” by Donald Stratton and Ken Gire, presents the sobering realities of the lives of the men who faced the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Stratton’s narrative begins with his hardscrabble youth in Nebraska. The Depression ravaged the nation and poverty took on new meaning. For example, he shared entries from a local farmer’s journal.
“Only 2 horses left, 95 acres of mortgaged land, unpaid taxes and interest…not a cent to our name, nor a cent of income for the last 4 years. I just don’t know exactly where to turn” (p. 31).
Stratton enlisted for the promise of a paycheck. His friend joined the Navy because “I was hungry. My family was hungry, and that was a way to get food” (p. 36).
Countless people have found themselves in similar straits of hopelessness and need. When we boil things down to survival, our perspective crystallizes.
Jesus’ disciples once grew so angry that they left the Savior (John 6:30-66). Jesus turned to the apostles and asked if they were also leaving. Peter’s reply still resonates.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68, NKJV).
Jesus is the “bread of life” (John 6:48), the “living water” (John 4:10-14) and the “light of the world” (John 8:12). He is “the way, the truth, and the life [and] no one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (John 14:6).
We must cling to Jesus because we have literally nowhere else to go. Spiritual blessings don’t exist outside of Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
The choices are clear. We have Jesus and heaven or Satan and hell (Matthew 25:46). Which path will we choose?