The Journey Continues: Tony Iacona

My journey this week took me to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and beyond. Tony Iacona, an old friend, and I have on occasion swapped books. He is a man of varied interests and a veteran of the armed forces, retiring in 1989.

Iacona gave me a copy of “All the Gallant Men” by Donald Stratton with Ken Gard, the only book written by a survivor of the U.S.S. Arizona. Stratton is one of only five remaining living survivors from the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, the worst disaster in United States naval history. The book tells of the 75 years Stratton lived with the difficult memory of lost friends. The sinking of the U.S.S. Arizona claimed the lives of 1,177 onboard – approximately one-half of the entire casualties of the day.

“I have a hard time finding any redemption in my remembrances of what happened to us on that horrible December day,” Stratton said. “Maybe someday, in the world to come, the larger symphony will be made clear.”

Iacona has experienced his share of life forces also and his guiding verse is:

“I can do all things through

Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Stratton was open and honest about his own struggle.

“As I stood beside the casket of my brother, Ray – who died in 1983 from alcoholism – I was thinking about my own life and that I also was an alcoholic,” Iacona said. “I had everything to live for – a beautiful wife, two handsome sons and a great career – but I was drinking it away. I was struggling and I needed help. Suddenly, I heard a whisper in my ear, ‘Is this how you want your life to end? Do you want your sons to grow up without a father?’ I knew who it was speaking to me. We had spoken before, but I was resisting. I answered, ‘No Lord, but I can’t stop. I’ve tried every way I know how, and nothing works.’ He said, ‘You know what you have to do.’ I replied, ‘I give up, if you will help me with this alcohol problem, then I said, ‘No, no deals! I am sorry for my sins, come into my life Lord Jesus. I surrender. Be my Lord.’

“I felt no sparks or anything but from that moment I have never touched another drop of alcohol, and it is now nearly 35 years later,” Iacona said. “The Lord performed a miracle, He took the craving for alcohol from me. The next day I did feel different. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me and he has never left. The Lord is not through with me yet.”

Tony and Carol Iacona have two sons and are active in First Baptist Church in San Marcos.

San Marcos Daily Record

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