Break the Chain A Stormy Revelation

Created 4/11/2003 (5/7/2003) In a time of war, stories of hope are often hard to come by. When things aren't going as well as planned, tales that show a miraculous silver lining to the dark clouds give us hope. Unfortunately, many of us are all-too-willing to accept them at face value.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

IN GOD WE TRUST!

I am sure that all of you heard about the sandstorm in Iraq Tuesday and Wednesday (the worst in 100 years some say) and the drenching rain that followed the next day.

Our troops were bogged down and couldn't move effectively.

The media was already wondering if the troops were in a "quagmire" and dire predictions of gloom and doom came from the left wing media.

What they didn't report was that yesterday, after the weather had cleared, the Marine group that was mired the worst looked out at the plain they were just about to cross.

What did they see?

Hundreds if not thousands of antitank and antipersonnel mines had been uncovered by the wind and then washed off by the rain. If they had proceeded as planned, many lives would have undoubtedly been lost.

As it was, they simply drove around them and let the demolition teams destroy them.

Praises be to His mighty name! Thank you, God, for protecting our young men!

One person once asked George Washington if he thought God was on his side. His reply is reported to be, "It is not that God should be on our side, but that we be on His."

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

On March 25 and 26, 2003, Coalition forces closing in on Baghdad were halted by severe sand storms that reduced visibility to less than 50 feet at times and threatened the effectiveness of weapons. Troops also had to deal with mines in the sand and snipers all the way to the Iraqi capital.

However, the tale of divine intervention above pre-dates the current war in Iraq. It's simply a fluke of timing that the tale should be unleashed on the populace at this moment. While this is a true story from a war, it is not from this war in Iraq. It's transition to the form above took 12 years and encompasses virtually every medium.

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The letter's roots are in a story from the 1991 Gulf War, titled "His Mysterious Ways," written by Michael Halt and published in the November 2002 issue of Guideposts magazine. In the article, Halt describes his experiences as the second-in-command of a Marine battalion whose efforts to drive forward were thwarted for days by torrential rain, only to reach the Kuwaiti border and be amazed by the site of thousands of mines uncovered by the storms.

Sometime between 1991 and 2003, Singer/songwriter Allen Ashbury included Halt's story in his song, "Somebody's Praying For Me." Halt's tale is just one of three testaments to the power of prayer relayed in the song. It takes some time to get a song written, recorded and released and "Somebody's Praying For Me" was coincidentally released this year and had started getting air play on Christian radio in March, leading many to falsely assume it referred to the current conflict.

One of the many people who thought the tale was a current event was Andy Laurents. He submitted it as a news item for Weekend News Today on March 23, 2003. Melissa Summers, an on-air personality for Christian radio station Praise 97.5, read the story and shared it with her listeners. Atlanta TV station WXIA-TV followed her piece with one of their own. An anonymous author caught the TV program and created the e-mail message above.

Unfortunately, the e-mail chain letter contains a few mistaken assumptions and fateful omissions. First, he or she added the mention of sand storms. There were no notable sand storms in the Gulf War, but they played a very crucial role in the Iraqi invasion. Second, as most chain letters. Later versions lost any identifiable information, such as references to Summers' segment and replaced them with an admonition of the "liberal media," further distancing the tale from reality and detracting from its value. Break this chain.

What Do You Think?


References: Snopes.com, Truth Miners

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