Memorial Day

Jemima Warner accompanied her husband on a military mission in 1775. He was a soldier with the Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion. While on the way to Quebec, her husband died from pneumonia. She stayed with his unit, serving as the battalion cook. During the siege, she was killed by an enemy bullet. She wasn’t officially a member of the military but she has been recognized by The Women in Military Service Foundation as the first American woman to die in action.

On May 20, 1917, nurses Edith Ayres and Helen Wood were sitting on the deck of the USS Mongolia during a live fire drill. The ship, carrying troops and equipment to France, also had a contingent of nurses on board. The nurses were desperately needed as the US became more engaged in World War I. During the drill, a gun misfired, spraying the women with shrapnel. The two nurses died of their wounds. They were the first to die in the line of duty. More than a thousand women have followed – nurses, Marines, soldiers, sailors, pilots.

Today is Memorial Day. For many families in our country, it is a day of grief and mourning. The high human toll due to warfare not only costs fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons but also mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. We cannot glorify war, but we can honor the sacrifice of those who gave their lives.

Today we remember.


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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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