Memorial Day message from The Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes

The Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes, Rev. William H. Law sent a yearly publication of compiled news and stories called “The Message” to all the Lighthouses and Life-Saving Stations in the United States, as well as sending copies to all the Congressmen and Senators in the U.S. Capitol (in an effort to sway their votes toward a bill to provide pensions for the Lighthouse and Life-Saving Services).

The 1918 edition of “The Message” was mailed out in the latter days of 1917 during the height of World War 1. With The fight to provide pensions to the Life-Savers already won with the passage of the Coast Guard Act or 1915, Law continued to fight to have the Lighthouse Service brought into the fold of the U.S. Coast Guard. This year’s “Message” began with a “Prayer for the Lightkeepers and their Families”, a section of which I would like to share with you on this Memorial Day:

“God bless our soldier boys, our brothers and comrades at the front. May they be sustained and encouraged by the admiration and loving watch care of all true Americans. As they serve under the folds of our beautiful banner may they be inspired to so conduct themselves that not one of the stars shall be tarnished by unworthy conduct and may their hearts be as pure as the white stripes and their willing sacrifice as red as its crimson, and their honesty and truthfulness as true blue as the color in its field.

O God, our Father, be merciful unto them if they should fall in battle and grant, dear Lord, that they may not die until their eyes shall rest on the Red Cross and give to understand somehow that it represents all the hopes and fears and love and tears of those back home, and all the red blood that has been shed, and shall be shed in a righteous cause. And, O God, give them to see in that cross the dearest souls in all the world – Christ the Savior of men. And in the hour of their supreme sacrifice may they tighten their grip upon the cross as they relax their hold upon the world and sin and realize they are Thy Children.”

Sky Pilot of the Great LakesRev. W. H. Law, excerpt from a “Prayer for the Lightkeepers and their Families”, “The Message”, 1918

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John Kotzian was born in Rogers City, Michigan located on the shore of Lake Huron and raised some 30 miles away in Hillman, Michigan. He is the great-great-grandson of the “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes”, Rev. William H. Law.

His passion for the Great Lakes and its history grew from the stories handed down through both sides of his family about Rev. Law’s travels and relatives lost in the sinking of the S.S. Carl D. Bradley.

He currently resides with his wife, Kimberly, in Brooklyn, MI.
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