On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. Our nation lost 2,403 Americans in that devastating blow to our Pacific fleet. The following day, President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the nation, calling the assault "a day which will live in infamy." That attack would thrust America into a global conflict that would last four long years and cost our nation over 400,000 lives.
America was at war. Draft notices began arriving in mailboxes of homes across America. You can only imagine that gut-sinking feeling a mother must have felt when she found the notice addressed to her son in her mail. Yes, she
knew the cause to be just, but this was her boy. No matter how honorable the fight, it could not remove that crushing anxiety that precedes a request for such a sacrifice.
This was the reality thousands of families were facing. This was especially true in Seneca, South Carolina on what was known as the Utica Cotton Mill Hill. The hill was a tight-knit community that found its bond in the cotton mill they all worked in and the church they all attended. Together, these families were sending their boys off to war. And these mothers and fathers turned to the only place they could during this difficult season: God.
They sought out a place of
solitude where they could go and bare their souls before the Lord as they lifted their boys up in prayer. Right outside the village, past a cemetery and down in a ravine next to a creek, they would erect an altar to the Lord where anyone could come and lay their burdens down.
It became a daily occurrence for these God-fearing men to rise early in the morning with heavy hearts for their far-away sons.