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Memories of Things Long Past

In March, 1941, a nurse on Bataan received a package mailed before the world-changing surprise attack on Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Opening it, with other nurses looking on, she removed a sheet of tissue paper and lifted a "little, frivolous black hat, with a dainty veil."

All broke into a laughter perilously close to tears. The nurse, in her army coveralls and bigger-than-her-feet shoes, held it in her hands, noting its cuteness. They watched silently as she set it on her head and carefully adjusted it—then broke again in laughter mixed with tears.

The hat symbolized what they all had lost, and many of them wouldn't again find, war being the all-devouring monster of humanity: cars on paved streets; dinners in restaurants with choices on the menu, theaters showing films, and ball games.

The little hat became a popular tourist attraction to other nurses from other bases. Everyone looked, most wistfully, many with tears brimming or falling, as memories surged and emotions spilled.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Sometimes little things remind us of people in other times, in other places, now lost and gone. Of relationships treasured and possessions valued now gone. But when we sacrifice all things for God, he will reward us with greater things that can never be taken away (Matt. 19:27-29).


Juanita Redmond, “I Served on Bataan,” (Lippincott Company, 1943), pp. 90-91

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