Jimmy Stewart, beloved star of It’s A Wonderful Life and dozens of other Hollywood classics, had planned to be an architect. The Pennsylvania-born Stewart even graduated from Princeton University with a degree in architecture–before acting won him over completely. So instead of building buildings, Stewart built one of the greatest careers in the history of film–interrupted only by his military service in WWII. Stewart, a patriot, joined the Air Force a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He rose to the rank of colonel, and flew 25 combat missions over Europe. He was awarded numerous medals.
Jimmy Stewart’s father, who owned a hardware store, was stricken with worry when his son was sent to Europe to begin combat. Before Stewart shipped over, the senior Stewart gave his son a letter just 63 words long, which kept him safe–and no doubt warm. Stewart carried the letter with him for the rest of his life. The letter read: “Jim, I’m banking on the enclosed copy of the 91st Psalm. The thing that takes the place of fear and worry is the promise of these words. I am staking my faith in these words. I feel sure that God will lead you through this mad experience. God bless you and keep you. I love you more than I can tell you. Dad.” These words from the 91st Psalm are etched on Jimmy Stewart’s gravestone: