Prayer Book Saves Life

By Cindy Britten
The Reporter

    When John Melong left home to serve overseas, his mother game him a prayer book and warned him to always carry it with him.

    When he joined the army, he received another small prayer book which he carried in his breast pocket along with his parents’ gift.

    Melong served with the Cape Breton Highianders and saw active service in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and Holland. Some of the heaviest fighting was in Italy. At one point, his wife Dorothy recalls, her husband had been fighting for a solid week.

    “There was a whole week he didn’t get to take his boots off,” she said.

    When he was finally able to take a break back at the base camp, he removed the missals from his pocket in preparation for attending a church service. It was at this point that he realized a
bullet had passed through both books without injuring him.

    ‘He hadn’t even realized he was hit,” Dorothy said.

    The incident happened about a year before the young man returned home (aboard the Queen Elizabeth), and he and Dorothy were later married.

    “1 had my eye on him before he left,” Dorothy laughingly noted. She said she wrote to him the three years he was away and sent him packages. But it wasn’t until he came home that she learned about his close encounter with death, and the part the prayer books played in saving his life.

    Today Dorothy keeps these prayer books as a reminder of the special protection they gave her husband while serving in battle.

(Editor’s note: information for this story was taken front “Cape Jack Road, A Journey To The Past,” by Evelyn DeCoste.)