Memorial Day Tribute by Julie/ From Such A Hell

This is a repost from last year but it touches my heart every time. Al died this year at the age of  90. I was heartbroken for his precious wife Flo.


I spoke with an 89 year old man this week. His life has been inspiring to others and quite an experience for him. He and his wife have been married 67 years and have lived through decades of difficult times as well as times of joy.

The story that has stuck in my mind is the one about his time in WWII. I’ve never met a POW until now and I have to say I have a new respect, a new pain for the men and women of our military.

Al was drafted in the U.S. Army in 1944. He was in Belgium with his infantry unit during the most famous battle in WWII the Battle of the Bulge. The German soldiers began directing fire to his unit so his infantry unit tried to return to their camp. This is when Al was wounded by enemy fire and captured by Nazi soldiers. He was taken to a prison camp where he and many other prisoners of war were held until they were liberated by General Montgomery and his British soldiers. During the time he was a prisoner from Dec. 1944 to April 1945, he lost 98 lbs. due to malnutrition and lack of proper medical treatment to his wound.

I don’t know whether to hate or feel sorry for the soldiers who treated Al in such a horrible way. Forgiveness is definitely the right thing to do and perhaps that’s how Al has managed to get through such horrible circumstances.

Imagining how hungry I get after 6 or 7 hours without food it is hard to think of Al being so hungry for so long that he lost 98 lbs. How hungry would you be, how horrible, how painful, how could one human do that to another?

I’ve seen pictures of the POW camps, watched the horrific documentaries but to know someone who was tortured by these men brings it on home. To know there really are human beings in existence that have so little value for life is beyond belief yet it is true.

What would it take to cause a human being to be willing to go to the extremes these men went to in order to destroy other people? In my own heart I wonder is there anything that could cause me to turn on my fellow man in such a way. I have heard the Nazi soldiers were afraid that Hitler would kill them and their families had they not done his bidding. Would that be enough to push me to the far side of hell? I pray to God that I could stand in His strength should ever a persecution come to the U.S. I pray I would never give into extreme situations. If I overcome it will only be by His mighty hand.

I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to meet this man, this man who has lived a full life despite what could have been a life shattering experience. There are no coincidences and Al was kept alive and rescued for reasons known only to God Himself. Somehow I suspect Al’s two sons, five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren could tell me why they think he’s here.

I do not know where he stands in faith but I do know God brought him home from such a hell for such a time as this. Esther 4:14. I’m so glad I was here at this time to meet him.

You too have been placed here at this time in the history of the world for such a time as this… believe it!

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