Archive for May 2015

U.S. Marine holds the hand of his future wife, taking time to Pray before saying “I do.”

May 26, 2015


‘I prayed to God for my beautiful wife’: Couple shares story behind viral wedding photo.

Kyle Michael Miller: TODAY News

A North Carolina photographer captured a powerful image Saturday showing a touching moment between a bride and a groom just minutes before their wedding ceremony.

We were about to take our first steps in life together, and we didn’t want to take a step without it being in God’s will,” Caleb Earwood, 21, told “I prayed to God for my beautiful and intelligent wife that he blessed me with and the amazing family I was marrying into.”

Because the couple didn’t want to see each other until the ceremony, Caleb stood on the staircase. Maggie, 22, leaned up against the wall to avoid making eye contact.


“When I first grabbed his hand, he was shaking really bad, so I knew he was really nervous,” Maggie said. “It relieved me to know the person I was getting ready to marry felt the same way about God.”

Caleb and Maggie, who both grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, were friends in high school. They started dating about two years ago, and haven’t left each other’s side since.

“She’s so beautiful. I couldn’t help myself! An excited Caleb said.

Photographer Dwayne Schmidth, who has photographed about 100 weddings in his 4-year career, said this is one his most memorable experiences. Although he almost didn’t make it to wedding after having emergency surgery last week to remove a kidney stone, he gathered enough strength to be there for the big day and photograph the heartfelt moment.


The happy couple is visiting Dollywood in Tennessee for their honeymoon. They plan to live in Jacksonville, North Carolina while Caleb is stationed at Camp Lejeune. He’s been serving in the Marines for 3 years.

“We’re thankful that our picture is able to bless so many people and touch that many hearts,” Caleb told

You can follow TODAY’S Kyle Michael Miller on Twitter.

Troops, Veterans Honored at Armed Forces Day Ceremony

May 16, 2015


By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ARLINGTON, Va., May 16, 2015 – As the last notes of “Taps” echoed off the stones of the Tomb of the Unknowns today, service members representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and veterans from World War II and the Korean War slowly dropped their salutes.

Tour groups of people visiting Arlington National Cemetery witnessed the changing of the guard, followed by honor guards from each of the service branches marching up in file and rendering honors as the colors were posted.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was joined by all five senior enlisted service advisors in a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb to mark the 65th annual Armed Forces Day. Afterward, the U.S. Army Concert Band performed patriotic music at a free concert.

‘We Celebrate … with the Fallen’

The wreath will be on display for the day at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor those who gave the last full measure, “but Armed Forces Day honors all service members past and present,” Battaglia said.

We celebrate Armed Forces Day with the fallen,” the sergeant major said.

“What better place for us to thank those who played such an integral role in protecting America’s freedom and liberty? Like many national burial grounds across the globe, here are harbored and housed America’s heroes, the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have, for more than 240 years, proudly and courageously worn the cloth of our nation,” he said.

“At Arlington today, we are encircled by those brave and courageous men and women, past and present, active, reserve and National Guard, living veterans and our fallen, all who have proudly served and continue to serve our country,” Battaglia said.

Veterans Remember

For Marine Corps veteran Brian Long, who served four years as a mortarman during the Beirut Conflict with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, Armed Forces Day was a reunion with his unit and with Battaglia.

“I haven’t seen this group of Marines since 1980,” said the former sergeant. “It was an opportunity to renew some acquaintances and regain some familiarity. [Battaglia] worked for me as a young lance corporal, and 35 years later, he’s the senior enlisted advisor. We’re very proud of him.”

Long said he was honored to be at the event because he has had a member of his family serve in the armed forces in one conflict or another since World War I through Vietnam and into Afghanistan and Iraq.

“My father was a World War II veteran,” he said. “We lost him a number of years ago, but he was a [prisoner of war] who fought in Europe. It’s special to be here surrounded by what it means to be an American and to be able to share this with brothers from all of the armed forces. It’s an honor to be here for Armed Forces Day.”

Vietnam veteran Clifford Barnes arrived at Arlington via an Honor Flight from Austin, Texas. He served in the Army for 41 years and said the event was indescribable.

“You just can’t describe what it feels like to be here,” he said. “The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. I was getting butterflies. I really enjoyed it. It brought back all of the worthwhile things I’ve done.”

An Opportunity to Educate the Public

Army Sgt. 1st Class Steven Ogbuehi, a power station sergeant at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, said he was honored to attend the event as well.

He said events such as Arlington’s Armed Forces Day ceremony are important, “especially to educate our public, give them an opportunity to see some of the activities we do every day, even if it’s just a ceremony like the one today.”

The ceremony made an impression on Kensi Gray, 14, from the Concord Christian School tour group out of Knoxville, Tennessee.

“I thought it was amazing,” she said. “The discipline they had was incredible, staying out there in the sun and staying completely still. They must have had a lot of practice to be able to do that.”

She said she was surprised at seeing all of the different uniforms and enjoyed seeing the veterans rendering their salutes. She also said armed forces should be recognized.

“People give their lives for us every day. The least we can do is honor them in this way,” Gray said.


2015 National Day of Prayer

May 1, 2015


Investing in Hope… Transforming our Nation Through Prayer!

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

History of the National Day of Prayer

Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it. – Thomas Jefferson, 1808

Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and significant history in American tradition. The Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in Marsh vs. Chambers (1983).

The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.

Significance of the National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.

Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Every year, local, state, and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer.

The National Day of Prayer is Ours

The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”

Historical Summary

  • 1775 – The first Continental Congress calls for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting.
  • 1863 – Abraham Lincoln calls for a National Day of Prayer.
  • 1952 – Harry S. Truman declares a National Day of Prayer and signs into law an annual observance there of – United States Congress passed Joint Resolution 382 on April 17, 1952/ President Truman signs Public Law 82-324 (Public Law 82-324; 66 Stat. 64—April 17, 1952).
  • 1988 – Ronald Reagan signs into law the designation of the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer  – President Reagan signs Public Law 100-307 January 25, 1988, in the Second Session of the One Hundredth Congress (Public Law 100-307—May 5, 1988).
  • 1998 – Pub. L. 105-225, August 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1258: The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals. This law was signed by President Clinton.1) There have been 143 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789-2014).3) Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.5) Records indicate there have been 1,419 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775 and counting.
  • Fun Facts
  • 1) There have been 143 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789-2014).2) There have been 66 Presidential Proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952-2014). Gerald R. Ford (1976), George H. Bush (1989-91) and Barack H. Obama (2012) are the only U.S. Presidents to sign multiple National Day of Prayer Proclamations in the same year.3) Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.4) 34 of the 44 U.S. Presidents have signed proclamations for National Prayer. Three of the Presidents who did not sign a proclamation died while serving in office. Two Presidents, not included in the count – William Howard Taft and Warren Gamaliel Harding, signed proclamations for Thanksgiving and Prayer.

    5) Records indicate there have been 1,419 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775 and counting.

    You can learn more about the National Day of Prayer at their website at

    Today more than ever we all need to humble ourselves before God and pray for America…