Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Simple Life

Chelsea Paulsen, Bill Marsh, and Daniel Mallette at Prince Gong’s Mansion Picture

Seven days ago I met a man named Charlie. Throughout our trip many have told us about this incredible man’s life. Without a doubt Charlie has lived an amazing life, but perhaps his outlook on life is even more inspiring. On the night we met Charlie I had the honor to sit at his table for dinner. As Charlie caught up with one of his old marine buddies, Bill Marsh, I overheard Charlie say something that I will never forget. Charlie said, “life is simple, but it is not always easy.” Over the past week, this piece of wisdom has resonated in every story told. The story of Bill Marsh is no exception.

 Bill Marsh walked into the Marine Corps office and enlisted on his seventeenth birthday. He prepared for his journey to the Orient at the Paris Island boot camp. At boot camp, Bill went though strenuous training. One aspect of the training was an obstacle course. Bill remembers running the course, then asking if that was all they had to do: it hadn’t seemed that bad. But there was more to do and in 1944 Bill was stationed in Okinawa. Already scarred by the heavy fighting, Bill found the island bare of vegetation. As the company worked their way around the island Bill would constantly have to dig foxholes to find relief from Japanese fire. When the island was secured, Bill was sent to Guam and he was there when the war ended. Two weeks after the war was over, Bill found himself in Qingdao, China. It was there that Bill befriended a small Chinese boy named Charlie. Men in Bill’s unit were able to persuade their commanding officers to allow Charlie to live in the Barracks with the rest of the men. Just a few short months later, the men who had fought in WWII were told they could go home. Bill was first in line, knowing he would probably never see Charlie again.

After Okinawa, Guam, and China Bill finally arrived home to Chicago where he worked as a large machinery mechanic for the electric company. It wasn’t too long, however, that Bill felt the need to once again serve his country. During the Korean War Bill received two purple hearts only to return home after the war to continue his job art the electric company. After his retirement Bill worked for the school district as their maintenance manager where the kids kept this remarkable man young.

“We went in as boys, but came out men,” said Bill.  Bill entered the service as a seventeen your old boy and did indeed come out a man. His life is simple if you merely write it down on paper, listing the main points, but it has definitely not been easy. I want to thank Bill so much for the laughs, the stories, and the lives that have been changed because of his life.

Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” Though we will never fully understand what these Marines and Charlie when though, we are honored to see their joy, the bitterness of war, and to experience their hearts.

The whole crew at Prince Gong’s Mansion
 Today we flew into Beijing where we spent some time touring the city. We went to Prince Gong’s Mansion, which was really pretty.  We all had a great time exploring it the mansion and seeing a piece of Chinese history. Tomorrow we will continue to tour the city of Beijing.

Daniel Mallette

Nurse Lori and Carl Frost

Mr. and Mrs. Mullinax in Prince Gong’s Mansion

Amy James , who went to School with Charlie, has been a great addition to this trip.

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