Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Roy Moore and a Certain Poem

Following the allegations regarding Roy Moore I took a look at his 2005 book, So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Religious Freedom, and saw that the preview of the Kindle version of that book discussed his time as in the Military Police during the Vietnam War in Chapter 2. While reading that section I saw the following passage:
Of course, my real strength was my dependence on God. A poem, found on the body of a dead soldier, has been in my possession all these years. Entitled, "Since I've Met You I'm Not Afraid to Die," it showed this man's dependence on God in the midst of fighting a war. I kept my Bible by my bed and often read its encouraging message, while looking forward to going home!
Curious about this passage I looked up the words "Since I've Met You I'm Not Afraid to Die." Turns out this poem actually dates back to World War II. One source states that it was written by Frances Angermayer in Kansas City on June 3, 1943. According to that source it is entitled "A Soldier's Conversion." Another source states that an interview with Angermeyer is in the November 10, 1957 edition of The Chicago Tribune. That source states the song's title as "Conversion."

But from where did the claim that this poem was found on a soldier's body originate? Turns out there is an account (as may be seen here and here) that says that on April 19, 1944 an American soldier who died fighting Axis forces in Italy was found by a Royal Army Medical Corporal to have had this poem in his possession.

One would have no clue of any of this fascinating background about this poem if one simply read this passage in Moore's book. But perhaps he does vaguely allude to its origin from an earlier era when he states that this soldier was "fighting a war" instead of the same war he was involved in.

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