had rarely taken the pocket-sized Bible out of its cigar box since his
grandfather gave it to him 35 years ago.
"God bless the old soldiers and their sons," David Thayer's
great-great-grandmother wrote in a letter he
found for the first time last week.
sent two sons to the Civil War, and one died.
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George's great-grandson is 57-year-old David Thayer, now pastor of St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Edgewater.
Not long ago, he
had students from the church's day school bring family heirlooms to class.
So the kids bugged him to bring in one of his
discovered the letter in the class, he
said, "The kids were thrilled. 'What does it say?
What does it say?' "
They sat raptly while he
showed them pages in the Bible stained dark with what appears to be the blood of a man long dead.
Last week, Thayer
brought out the letter and Bible to show me.
"This really brings a lot of the past into the present," he
said, telling me he
planned to preach on the letter in today's sermon.
folded the letter back into the cigar box he
got from his
grandfather in 1976, a few months before he
Someday, he'll give it and his
great-great-uncle's Bible to his
, who grew up an Air Force brat, prays every Sunday for the Americans who've just died in Iraq or Afghanistan, reading their names aloud to the congregation.
doesn't read their ranks, but includes their ages to remind worshippers that we still send our young to die on battlefields far away.
transcription of his
great-great-grandmother's letter to her