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Sergeant York Greatest American Hero

First To Fight PosterFirst To Fight PosterAlvin C. York was born at Pall Mall in the Valley of the Three Forks of the Wolf on December 13, 1887. The third of eleven children growing up farming, hunting, and fighting, no one would have suspected Alvin York would become an American Hero.

Trust Amidst Doubt and Adversity

by Douglas Mastriano

The Testimony of Alvin C York 

Sergeant Alvin C. York ~ American World War I Hero ~ Recipient of the nation’s highest military award - The Medal of Honor Sergeant York at the spot where he captured 132 German soldiers on 8 October 1918 (National Archives)

Trust amidst doubt and adversity Executive Summary:

​The Argonne Forest, France, 8 October 1918. After his platoon suffered heavy casualties, Alvin York assumed command.

Discovering History Through Research

"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand."Ezekiel 33:6
With this, York stood up and said, "All right, I'm satisfied." (13) With this assurance, he sought to excel in all that was entrusted to him. 

Take Time to Listen & Talk to those with Questions
There are several lessons to learn from the York story. The central one is the impact Christians made in Alvin’s life. Specifically, Danforth and Buxton made the difference. They spent hours out of their time to hear the concerns of this one Soldier. They had every reason to decline speaking with York, foremost was the serious time constraints the unit was under. They only had a few months to train raw recruits for combat. Despite this, they sacrificed their time to help York overcome his doubts. (14)

"We talked along these lines for over an hour… We did not get angry or even raise our voice. We jes examined the old Bible and whenever I would bring up a passage opposed to war, Major Buxton would bring up another which sorter favored war. I believed that the Lord was in that room. I seemed to somehow feel His presence there." (15) Alvin York 

Better than merely listening to York’s concerns, Buxton and Danforth were courageous enough to share their own testimonies with him. In our days of political correctness, this is quite a challenge. We must use common sense, wisdom and discernment in approaching such matters, but speak the Truth boldly when called upon to do so.(16)  Because of Danforth and Buxton, York went on to save his regiment from annihilation only months later. What a difference a Christian can make.


"And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."Revelations 12:11 

There are three primary lessons from the York story:

1. God used Sergeant Alvin York to save the lives of hundreds of Americans and Germans on 8 October 1918. In the decades since this, the testimony of Sergeant York is still told. Like Alvin York, we must endeavor to take our faith seriously, and build our character and moral courage “muscles” by choosing to do the right thing every day. This will prepare us for the day of battle that lies ahead. Certainly, York was physically courageous on the battlefield, because he was morally courageous in his spiritual life. 

2. God has endowed each of us with distinct talents/gifts to fulfill His purpose for our lives. In the case of Alvin York, his sharp eye as an expert rifleman made the difference during the fierce battle for the Decauville Railroad in October 1918. With such confidence, believers can move forward knowing that God has equipped us in the right place and the right time to fulfill His plan for our lives. 

3. The example of Major Buxton and Captain Danforth speak to us today. These men gave hours of their precious time to help Sergeant York work through his spiritual doubts. Because of their boldness for the faith, patience and understanding, York was able to fully commit himself to the tasks that lie ahead and ultimately save his regiment from defeat. Although not many of us can expect to be a Sergeant York, surely we can live up to the examples of Captain Danforth and Major Buxton.

Sgt. York

Contact: Sgt.York@worldwar1centennial.org

The Sergeant York <<<>>>

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