Thirty-eight years ago . . . , I spoke of one of my childhood friends, Arthur Patton, who died at a young age. . . . May I tell you about Arthur. He had blond, curly hair and a smile as big as all outdoors. He stood taller than any boy in the class.
I suppose this is how, in 1940, as the great conflict which became World War II was overtaking much of Europe, Arthur was able to fool the recruiting officers and enlist in the navy at the tender age of 15.
To Arthur and most of the boys, the war was a great adventure. . . . Arthur’s mother was so proud of the blue star which graced her living room window. It represented to every passerby that her son wore the uniform of his country and was actively serving. When I would pass the house, she often opened the door and invited me in to read the latest letter from Arthur. . . .
In March 1944, with the war now raging . . . at Saipan in the South Pacific, the ship was attacked. Arthur was one of those on board who was lost at sea. The blue star was taken from its hallowed spot in the front window of the Patton home. It was replaced by one of gold, indicating that he whom the blue star represented had been killed in battle. A light went out in the life of Mrs. Patton.
With a prayer in my heart, I approached the familiar walkway to the Patton home, wondering what words of comfort could come from the lips of a mere boy. The door opened, and Mrs. Patton embraced me as she would her own son. Home became a chapel as a grief-stricken mother and a less-than-adequate boy knelt in prayer.
Arising from our knees, Mrs. Patton gazed into my eyes and spoke: “Tommy, I belong to no church, but you do. Tell me, will Arthur live again?” To the best of my ability, I testified to her that Arthur would indeed live again. . . . Arthur Patton died quickly. Others linger. We know, through the revealed word of God, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, . . . are taken home to that God who gave them life.
I expressed to Mrs. Patton my personal testimony . . . , telling her that God our Father was mindful of her--that through sincere prayer she could communicate with Him; that He too had a Son who died, even Jesus Christ the Lord; that He is our advocate with our Father, the Prince of Peace, our Savior and divine Redeemer, and one day we would see Him face to face.