By Rev. William Langerak
Sample: Although the year 1919 began with the nation mourning the death of Teddy Roosevelt, optimism seemed to abound. The flu pandemic that snuffed out some 30 million lives, was beginning to fade. World War I, the four-year quagmire that swallowed up another 18 million souls, had just ended (and with it the furor in West Michigan over a young Reformed pastor’s refusal to display the flag during services in his church in Holland). Then, in the hope of lasting peace, the League of Nations was formed, and in the hope of a new morality, the eighteenth amendment was adopted.
On September 2, in a small farmhouse just east of the rural town of Coopersville, Michigan, a couple of Dutch immigrants rejoiced in the gift of another covenant child. The father, John, was born in 1877 as Jan Govert Breen in Stellendam, Zuid Holland. His wife, Grace, was born a year later as Gerarda Timmer in Kommerzij, Groningen. Both emigrated with parents and siblings to West Michigan where they would meet, marry, and settle down
to farm. Their new child, the eleventh of twelve the Lord would give them, they named Peter James Breen.