Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rearing Faithful Warriors

I grew up with WWII (that's World War 2, not World War 11 as one elementary teacher was overheard saying to her class at a museum). Actually, I was a postwar baby, but my dad had been in the war, as had the fathers of many of my friends & classmates. Therefore, I grew up with WWII.

I saw Stalag 17 at the drive-in theater with my folks, and To Hell and Back at the movie theater. On Sunday afternoons, we watched Victory at Sea and documentaries using newsreel footage about the rise and fall of Hitler and Mussolini. We also watched the TV series Combat and every war movie that came on television.

There was a balance in it all, too. My dad never glorified war, because he had been in it. And the documentaries showed the horrors of bodies stacked like cordwood, of Japanese soldiers burying Chinese civilians alive, of Mussolini hanging dead by his feet in the public square. This helped to temper with reality the exhilarating sense of adventure boys feel when doing imaginary battle against evil forces.

But, battle we did. And military surplus items helped to fire our imaginations. One Christmas my brother and I found gas masks among our gifts. Then there were the army canteens & web belts. I could only gaze with covetous eyes upon the bayonets & dummy grenades owned by guys I knew. Yes, I grew up with WWII.

That war is pretty much confined to the history books and the minds of ill-informed public school teachers, now. (World War 11? Good Grief!) Therefore, you can imagine how it piqued my nostalgia when I found out that the home-education supplier Vision Forum has some neat military surplus items being marketed for boys to play with.

As a youngster, I would have prized one of the WWII style tin-pot helmets. I can picture a Christian Martialist stenciling a Celtic cross on one of these to remind his son whose soldier he is. The site also has ammo belts, canteens, dummy pineapple grenades, a DVD of Gary Cooper's Sergeant York, and more.

Thanks to Vision Forum for making these and other adventuresome items available to young Christian Martialists-in-the-making. May we rear faithful warriors in part by encouraging the kind of play that stirs their imaginations to engage the forces of evil in righteous battle.

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