Vietnam vet McClary says America should ‘turn back to the Word of God’
Nov 21, 2012

ORLANDO (FBW)—Highly decorated retired Marine Lt. Clebe McClary celebrating Veteran’s Day, Nov. 12, told pastors at the Florida Baptist State Convention at First Baptist Church in Orlando, there are four “loud and lasting cries” from Americans. 

After devastating injuries in Vietnam, for which he was awarded 3 Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and the Silver Star, McClary returned home where he underwent more than 30 surgeries.

McClary’s wife, Deanna McClary, introduced him to the audience with a poem she wrote, mentioning his years in the service. 

“Every single day that I have the privilege of buttoning up his uniform, tying his shoe strings and shaving him, in a very visible way, I am reminded that freedom is not free,” she said. “And we thank the Lord, Jesus every day for another gift— the present, another day to honor Him. So to you, dear Clebe, I write this with pride.”

Taking the stage, McClary established the “four loud and lasting cries” of Americans, each derived from a separate people group, he said. 

The first group’s solutions to America’s problems, he said was education. 

Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
“As we travel this great country we heard four loud long and lasting cries being made throughout America,” McClary said. “One group stood up and said, ‘Clebe, the whole hope and answer for America is learn, learn, learn—education is the answer for our country.’”

But despite McClary’s experience in the educational system as a coach in middle school, high school, and college—he said he questioned the sentiment that education is America’s salvation. 

“But, you know, I don’t really believe God is concerned about a person’s IQ as much as He is with your ‘I WILL,’” McClary said. 

The second cry from Americans, McClary said, was for wealth and material things. According to McClary, some Americans believe an abundance of belongings or money will bring happiness. 

“But you know, I’ve never met the first man to sport a good wife, to sport a happy home,” McClary said. “It’s not peace, it’s not joy—these are free gifts from the Lord, Jesus Christ. Earning wealth, material things, aren’t the answer for America.”

From the third group, McClary reported that this group was made up of exhibitionists. 

“Third cry I heard was on the college campuses. They couldn’t learn anything and refused to study,” McClary said. “They couldn’t earn anything and refused to work. Their cry wasn’t learn, wasn’t earn—what was it? Burn, baby, burn, they marched and chanted.”

But, the three previous cries, are not what America needs, McClary said. According to McClary, American’s do not need to learn, earn or burn anything. Rather, he said, they need to turn. 

“I stand with you tonight, and I say there’s hope for America tonight. There’s hope for the world tonight,” McClary said.  “It’s not learn; it’s not earn; I guarantee it’s not burn—there’s one hope, there’s one answer. It’s turn. Turn back to the Word of God.”

That statement elicited a large cheer from the crowd. McClary went on to tell those in attendance that Americans “need to turn back to Bible study and prayer.”

“I carry my Bible with me everywhere I go. Somebody said, ‘dumb marine, you don’t take that Bible into public school do you?’ I say, ‘I sure do,’” McClary said, referencing when Bibles were deemed inappropriate in a school setting. 

“If it takes a shot-at, one-arm, one-eye Marine to put it back in, I’m going to put it back in for God’s glory,” he said. “I think I know what that flag means to you. I guarantee you, folks, I know what it means to me. I didn’t get drafted. I didn’t have to join the Marines.”

McClary espoused to the crowd that he was not there “to tell you how to live your lives,” he said. 

“You’re smarter than me, more important than me, but be careful,” McClary said. “The folks you run around with have a tremendous influence on your life.”

McClary used that statement to segue into attendees parenting habits, leaving the crowd with a thought to ponder.  

“I believe character is great word in America tonight, but I believe it’s a misused word. As parents we’ve made a mistake,” McClary said. “We try to give our kids everything we didn’t have—everything money can buy. Give them (our kids) a few things money can’t buy: honesty, integrity, loyalty, discipline, commitment, manners.”



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