Friday, April 5, 2013

Col. Ben Purcell and Anne Purcell



When I did my last post, I did not know that Col. Ben Purcell had passed away the day before.   Here is his obituary. I have written a post about the book that he and his wife, Anne wrote together.  It is entitled "Love And Duty" and I highly recommend it.  I just read a book review about it and it said that they told their story "simply, honestly and without bitterness".  Col. Purcell returned to Vietnam and FORGAVE his captors, just as Mr. Zamperini did. (See my other posts about Louis Zamperini!)  In the photo above that is my Dad on the left, Anne Purcell in the middle and Col. Purcell on the right.
I took this photo at Centennial Baptist Church after a Veteran's Day Service  in 2008.  Col. Purcell and his wife, Anne had both spoken of their experiences during the Vietnam War.  Col. Purcell was 40 years old at the time of his capture and he spent 5 1/2 years imprisoned and 58 months of that was in solitary confinement.  During that time, Anne Purcell took care of the children (five of them) without knowing if her husband was dead or alive.  Anne was one of the founding members of the National League of Families that raised awareness of the POW's and MIA's in Vietnam.

  It was such an honor to meet them both and to shake their hands.  Col. Purcell had such a strong handshake! Of course, he was in his full uniform with all his medals, but honestly,  he had such a strong military bearing about him, you could just sense it, even if he had been in civilian dress.  Such a strong Christian couple, I can't tell you how much I admire them!  I found a video that was made through a program on the history channel and please, take the time to click on the following and watch and listen to this remarkable woman. http://www.history.com/shows/vietnam-in-hd/bios  (Once there, click on Anne Purcell's name and then click the watch video at the bottom.)
If you watch it to the end, you will be rewarded by seeing Col. Purcell himself.  I love the home movies of themselves as a young couple which have been added into this video.  At the end it shows them playfully running into the camera and it captures their young love perfectly.

One of the things that I saw written about him was this:  "He was a soldier for peace and a warrior for the Lord".   I treasure the words that they wrote in my copy of their book.
 
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
 

27 comments:

  1. What a wonderful testimony to this man's life. How odd that he passed away just when you wrote a post about him. xo Diana

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    1. On that day I had met a man whose last name was Dunbar and was reminded of this poet. That evening, I had a nice comment on my post about Col. Purcell, but the comment did not mention of his passing, I only learned of it on Friday.
      Diana, these are only words on my blog and I wish I could do more to honor this man, but it is all that I have. xx

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    2. Dear Kay,
      Just found your blog and wanted to say "Thank You" for honoring my dad in such a beautiful way. I will share your blog with my mother. I know she will be as touched and grateful as I am. This past year without Dad has been difficult but, once again, God's grace has seen us through. What a blessing it is to know that my father's life and legacy will live on in the kind hearts and words of people like you.
      God bless you,
      Joy

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    3. Dear Joy,
      Thank YOU! You have made my day leaving this comment! It was a true JOY to have met your parents and to hear them speak. I wish that someone would make a movie about them and their inspiring story. If that ever happens, please let me know.
      Thanks again for your kind words about this post. He really deserves a much better write up of the Christian example of this life. I am humbled to have met both of your parents. It would please me greatly to have your Mom read this post.
      And by the way, JOY is one of my favorite names!
      God bless! Kay

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  2. Oh this was very moving, Kay. I loved the way it was interspersed with clips of their younger days. Wonderful story.

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    1. Thanks so much for watching that video clip, those snips of them when they were young brought tears to my eyes, you could see their great love, for each other and for the Lord.
      I wish everyone could know their story.

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  3. What an amazing man. What an amazing couple!

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    1. Thanks, Kay! You should have seen the display that they presented before their speeches at the church.
      He had a carved a small Communion set out of hollowed out piece from his toothpaste kit, and it was tiny, but perfect. He also had carved all the initials of his family's name upon a button that he made from a bone found in his watery soup...incredible story, incredible amazing couple.

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    2. That is so incredible.

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  4. I like that he was a soldier for peace. I don't think I've ever heard someone called that before. Hope your Saturday is a super one!

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    1. I loved that too, a soldier for peace.
      He truly was an exceptional man. I was honored to meet him and to hear him speak.

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  5. Hello Kay,
    Very touching post, wonderful story.
    Thank you and have a good weekend.
    Ivan

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    1. Thank you, Ivan.
      The first post of yours that I read was about your Great-Uncle that died in World War II, just after he was married. I will always remember that post.
      x

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  6. Kay, I love this post. It is amazing how strong love can be. It had to take a lot of faith for this beautiful couple. xoxo,Susie
    p.s. I really like the header photo

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    1. Thanks, Susie,
      A beautiful couple, yes, you are exactly right.
      They certainly showed their great faith in God and spoke of it with great eloquence.

      (Richard took that header photo!)

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  7. Another one of the Greatest Generation gone. RIP

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    1. Resting in the Peace of the Lord, I don't doubt it one bit. I wish you could have heard him speak, Debra, it was truly an extraordinary life that he had and you could SENSE his military authority and also, his quiet confidence in the Lord. Honestly, I was overcome by the emotion of meeting them. It's hard to convey this, but I am trying.

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  8. Agreeing with Debra -- it's sad how fast the time is going.

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    1. Yes, Mimi, see my reply to Debra above. I have such respect for those who have served and often, we have no idea what they have gone through.

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  9. What a story! 58 months in solitary confinement! What a strong man.

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    1. Oh, you should read the book! He escaped twice and was re-captured. He was a very strong man with a firm faith in God. This is a story that everyone should know about, not about the trivial stories of pop stars!

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  10. A wonderful post and a great story, Kay! Ben and Anne sound like terrific people!

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    1. Thanks, Paul. I don't know if you had a chance to look up the video that I mentioned but if so, you will even see them when they were young.
      A terrific couple indeed.

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  11. How very moving!
    I can not even begin to imagine the anguish both must have felt at times, and then the happiness when he came home and they could hold each other again.

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    1. Oh dear, my reply is below! I do that sometimes!

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  12. Oh, Meike, they were just a wonderful couple to meet and their book should be on the TOP of the bestseller lists, it is such an amazing story and a TRUE one! I hope you were able to see the video, I only just found it when I was doing this post but I was really glad to find it and to share it.

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  13. This country should surround her in flowers for she was the back bone of her family, and now the back bone of a nation, Thank you for your service.

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