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The best-known American hero of World War I was Alvin C. York from Pall Mall, Tennessee. My parents took my brother and me there to visit his grist mill years ago. Ray and I later took our children. One of the most special things about both visits was talking with York’s son, Andrew Jackson York, who served as the tour guide. Some years later the York home was opened to the public, and I again enjoyed visiting with Andrew, who was still there telling his father’s story.

Last week Ray and I went to Pall Mall again. We didn’t tour the York sites this time. We were not there to honor Alvin C. York, but Amly Poore, 94-year-old grandmother of our son-in-law Gregory Poore. Our destination in Pall Mall was the cemetery where Mrs. Poore was buried near other members of the Poore family. We also stopped by Mrs. Poore’s house, where she lived alone until a few weeks ago. Then we joined members of the Poore family for a traditional potluck funeral dinner which their friends provided. It was a privilege to visit with Gregory, Bethany, and Eva, and with Gregory’s relatives, many of whom homeschool or were homeschooled.

During the funeral in nearby Byrdstown, I was struck by how close history is to us. Mrs. Poore was born the same year that Alvin York fought in France. When Miss Amly was a baby, Alvin York was far from home, riding through the streets of New York in a ticker-tape parade. Later their families knew one another in the mountains of East Tennessee. Gregory’s father Mike got to meet Sgt. York himself.

A few weeks before she died Miss Amly met our newest granddaughter, Eva. When Bethany and Gregory took Eva to the hospital to meet her great-grandmother, Miss Amly had been sitting up for some time in anxious anticipation of seeing her new great-granddaughter.

Andrew Jackson York has spent most of his adult life honoring his father and telling his story. Last week Miss Amly’s children, children-in-law, grandchildren, grandchildren-in-law, and great-grandchildren honored her. It’s what you do in Pall Mall, but the idea began somewhere else–in the heart of God.

Honor your father and your mother,
as the Lord your God has commanded you,
that your days may be prolonged
and that it may go well with you on the land
which the Lord your God gives you.
Deuteronomy 5:16, NASB

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