Chaplain on Memorial Day: Mom knew

Published 2:07 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chaplain Col. (Ret.) Clyde Northrop knows too well the price some families pay for America’s freedom.

In a Memorial Day service in Andalusia Saturday morning, Northrop recounted some of the times he had to deliver the news to a wife or a mother that her husband or son had died in action.

Clyde Northrop speaks in the rain Saturday morning in Andalusia.

Clyde Northrop speaks in the rain Saturday morning in Andalusia.

“I went up on the porch and knocked on the door,” he said. Reluctantly, the woman unlatched the screen door and allowed him to enter her home. After he had shared his sad news, she said, “Chaplain, I wish I had not let you in. If I had not let you in, he wouldn’t be dead.”

Another time he went to speak to a mother, but learned she was at choir practice. He hid his car as best he could, he said, so as not to alarm her, and waited until she returned.

When she saw him, she said, ‘You have a message for me,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“It’s my son, right?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Please don’t tell me his name. Let me tell you.”

After she stated her son’s name, she said, “Well, I have three sons who are in that war. But I just knew that he was the one who was going to be killed.”

Northrop said some people with whom he dealt seemed to have a connection to God, and to know what would come.

“I’ll never forget the blessing she was to me,” he said, “that mother and her three sons.”

Wreaths were placed in Covington Veterans Memorial Park in memory of those who died. Some 50-plus people attended the ceremony, despite a light rain that fell throughout the service.