by Caleb Holets
His life became a mess after he made bad friends and started to drink. Satan had a hold on Alvin York by his mid-twenties. He started out his life about average for a boy in the back woods, hunting a lot and working hard. His father died on Christmas day after he got kicked in his chest by a horse as he shoed it. Alvin now assumed the responsibility of caring for the family, since his two older brothers had already moved out. After greeting him as he came home his mother would often remind him of his father who had formed good habits and tell him how she wished he would take after his father. In Alvin’s words, “She prayed and prayed. So I made up my mind to finish it. It was hard though. When you get used to a thing no matter how bad it is for you, it is most awful hard to give it up.” Walking through the woods helped him as he prayed for forgiveness; he had victory over smoking, drinking, gambling, cussing and brawling, and never did any of those again.
In winning this victory York gained a new fervor for life. He then began to court a girl by the name of Gracie. His life now had hope, but “America Joins World War I” dominated the papers titles. President Wilson ordered a draft, but Alvin believed war violated the sixth commandment, so he signed a petition as a conscientious objector, but it returned denied. At the training camp, he stood out as one of the best men, and when the captain in command heard the reports about Alvin and his beliefs, he set up a meeting with him. They discussed what the Bible said, with many scriptures on both sides, giving Alvin a lot to think on. He asked for a short visit home where he thought, prayed, and fasted until God gave him his answer, and with peace of mind he went. After he finished up training, he got shipped across the seas where conditions were terrible with horrors that would make a man have nightmares. Pushing the Germans back, the Allies gained 200 square miles, leading to the last main offensive.
Alvin and his small division had orders to advance across a large field in extremely cold weather; they had to cut through many lines of barbed wire while the machine guns and sharp shooters took their toll on them. After taking a break for the night, they continued at three a.m.; coming up on the next hill and navigating through the dark, they made it over the top with fixed bayonets and started taking machine gun fire from all around. With Alvin left in charge, he decided to make a flank where they thought the main fire was coming from. Ending up behind enemy lines, they came across twenty officers who had just eaten breakfast and made them surrender. Machine gunners heard the commotion, turned around, and open fired on them, killing half of them and leaving Alvin with only eight men. Alvin knew he had to make them stop, so he circled around and shot them down until they surrendered, repeating this with the other trenches until he had about 132 Germans. In all of this he gave the glory and thanks to God showing that nothing is impossible for Him. Upon returning home to the fame and love of the people, he still continued on just in a life just as simple, flourishing under God’s blessing.
Page created on 2/15/2011 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 2/15/2011 12:00:00 AM
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York, Alvin. Sergeant York and the Great War. Bulverde,
TX: Mantle Ministries, 1998. Print.