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RIP, Lt. Gen. Harold Moore, Catholic immortalized in Mel Gibson movie

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 02/14/17

From The New York Times: 

Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, whose fortitude saved most of his outnumbered battalion in 1965 in the first major battle between American and North Vietnamese troops — exploits immortalized in a book and a movie starring Mel Gibson — died on Friday at his home in Auburn, Ala. He was 94.

His death was confirmed by his son Col. David Moore who, like his brother Lt. Col. Stephen Moore and their father, was a West Point graduate.

General Moore recounted his battlefield heroics in 1992 in a best-selling book, “We Were Soldiers Once … and Young,” written with Joseph L. Galloway.

Mr. Galloway, as a 24-year-old war correspondent for United Press International, had witnessed the battle, one of the war’s bloodiest, in the I Drang Valley in November 1965. Mr. Gibson played General Moore in “We Were Soldiers,” the 2002 film adaptation of the book.

Several years ago, he spoke about his faith—accompanied by his driver— to Our Sunday Visitor:

What lies ahead for a man who has spent 80-plus years of his life in service to God and country?

MOORE: My principle purpose in life now is to qualify for life hereafter. I’m a very religious person: I try to go to Mass every day, and if not then to this small chapel to meditate. And I find this very helpful. OSV: Tell me about how Msgr. George Murdock, the Catholic chaplain at the U.S. Military Academy, influenced your life. MOORE: All my years at West Point, I saw Msgr. Murdock frequently. He was a great source of encouragement to me in getting through the tough academic courses. I had no problem with the discipline of the place — that was easy. I was a “goat” — that’s what they called those of us cadets who had trouble in academics. I went to Mass daily, and at various times during the day when I was free I would sit in the chapel, meditate and pray. DRIVER: I don’t know how you attend Mass every day at West Point with its rigorous schedule. I think his training for military leadership was secondary. What he really learned there was spiritual leadership. The day he graduated, right after the ceremony, he was in the chapel. Right after he left that campus, he went on a three-day retreat at an abbey. So at this crucial time in his life, he already had that sense of spirituality and eternity. That’s what he took into the rest of his life. How do you find “peace in war,” as the book states? MOORE: In the heat of a battle, we don’t pray. We don’t think about heaven. We think about killing the enemy and getting through the battle alive. But before going into battle, I always prayed that I would make the right decisions, that I would conduct myself properly as a leader. I prayed that I would survive the battle, although I was prepared to be killed. OSV: Today you still pray for the men from your unit. What is your prayer for them? MOORE: I pray that my men who were killed in action under my command have eternal life in Jesus Christ. That’s the best I can do.

Read more. 

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…

Photo: Wikipedia

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