- (Photo: Harvest)
Greg Laurie, pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., interviewed Captain Scotty Smiley as part of worship on Sunday.
Smiley, an army ranger and the Army's first active-duty blind officer, lost his sight due to a suicide bomber attack in Iraq in April of 2005. "Scotty has an amazing story of courage and faith," said Laurie on a blog post Sunday. Laurie also noted the significance of Veterans' Day Sunday.
"It's important that we take the time to remember and honor our more [than] 22 million military veterans. It's because of their selfless service and sacrifice that we live in a free country today," wrote Laurie.
As part of the contemporary worship service, Laurie talked with Smiley, who was described by Laurie as a "genuine American hero."
"We hear the word 'hero' tossed around a lot, but what is it … let's talk about a war hero. Let's talk about someone serving his country," said Laurie.
Laurie spoke of Capt. Smiley as being a good example of overcoming the challenge of a disability, as he has done many things and traveled many places since losing his sight.
"It was tough, you know being raised as a Christian in a Christian family, I had felt that I had done everything I was supposed to do," said Smiley, who said that his faith was heavily shaken by his wounds.
"It was not just the support of family and friends, but it's God's unfailing love … that road is still ongoing, but it's awesome."
As discussed in the service, Smiley and Laurie had met before. Back in 2002, while Smiley was a cadet at West Point, the two had passed out Bibles to those attending an event that Laurie was speaking at.
"I had always loved playing guns, playing army, but for me choosing to attend the United States military academy was the fact that it was free and my parents couldn't afford an education," said Smiley.
Smiley added that the September 11th attacks, which happened while he was a junior at the academy and about 40 miles from campus, made him want to pursue a career in the army after his education.
Across the country, churches observed and remembered those who served in the United States Armed Forces. This included recognizing veterans during worship and those who served attending services in uniform.
In addition to the interview with Smiley, Laurie also preached a sermon titled "How to Overcome the Devil," which focused on Revelation 12.
"Satan is on his way down and if you follow him, you're going to go down with him," said Laurie.