Joshua 1:7-9 “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

On June 29th, the world lost a true hero. On that day, Hershel “Woody” Williams slipped off into eternity and we lost the last remaining Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. Woody’s medal citation should be an inspiration to all of us:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Demolition Sergeant serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-First Marines, Third Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Island, 23 February 1945. Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines and black, volcanic sands, Corporal Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by four riflemen, he fought desperately for four hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flame throwers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another. On one occasion he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flame thrower through the air vent, kill the occupants and silence the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided in enabling his company to reach its objective. Corporal Williams’ aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

When Woody returned home from World War II, he didn’t stop serving. He fought figurative battles throughout the remainder of his life in the Marine Corps Reserve and the Veterans Administration, and through service to Gold Star Families, as the 35-year Chaplain of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and through preaching the Word of God. He faithfully served people, his country, and his magnificent Lord and Saviour. And he did so with faith, dedication, strength and courage.

Last week’s PLUS post was about the heritage of our noble ancestry ( In it, my closing line was the following: “May we honor and build upon the powerful heritage of our noble ancestry.” If you are struggling to find a personification of our noble ancestry, please direct your gaze to Woody Williams. There you will find strength and courage so that you can better serve people, our country, and our magnificent Lord and Saviour.