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April 2019 - Posts
The following is an excerpt from a speech given by the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, on April 23, 1910 after he had left office.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiams, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

This part of his speech was widely successful and would spread throughout the world. It was an encouragement to those who wanted to make the world a better place and acknowledging the courage and perseverance it would take to do so. These words can apply to today as well. The question is who will have the courage and perseverance to make our world a better place?
Posted by  On Apr 28, 2019 at 8:06 PM
The following poem is from the poetic works of Sonji Rush and Pocket Poetry Publishing.

Come into my heart and fell the depths of me
Only when you have the depth to see
Many teardrops falling upon my face
Pouring streams of sadness in this well known place
Ask me if you feel the pain inside
Say you do if you then realize
Sometimes pain comes from love so true
It comes from joy and sadness too
Only say it if you know its real
Never if you cannot feel as I feel.
Posted by  On Apr 21, 2019 at 4:42 PM

The following story was taken from In the cold skies over far northern Germany, planes were battling it out in freezing temperatures. On the ground, near Bremen, an accomplished pilot with 22 kills, Franz Stigler, was refueling his plane, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6, which was at risk of overheating because of a bullet in its radiator. Stigler was watching the air, and he saw a tattered U.S. bomber so beaten up it could barely fly.

The plane, piloted by Charles Brown of West Virginia, had sustained the damage to the aircraft’s nose, and with two engines disabled it was slowing down. Brown lost his position in the formation and had been left behind to endure enemy fire. Another engine went at that moment. Internal oxygen was depleting, and half the rudder was gone too. Electrical systems were failing. His weapons had jammed, he’d lost part of the nose and an elevator, and most of his crew were now injured. Brown himself suffered a wound in his right shoulder.

He had to endure the pain because the morphine on board had frozen and he could not radio for help as the radio had been destroyed.

Stigler took off from below and flew to Brown’s plane. The exterior damage to the aircraft allowed him to see inside and the crew was suffering. Stigler was a fighter pilot with integrity and compassion. As a young pilot, a commanding officer had told him, “You are fighter pilots first, last, always. If I ever hear of any of you shooting at someone in a parachute, I’ll shoot you myself.”

Stigler tried to direct them to a German airfield, hoping that they would land and surrender. Brown and his crew did not understand and flew on. He tried to guide them to neutral territory in Sweden, but again, they didn’t understand.

Stigler moved to a formation on Brown’s port side wing to protect him from further German fire. Brown told his crew to aim the dorsal turret gunner at Stigler to warn him off, but not to fire.

The brave and compassionate Stigler remained on the bomber’s wing all the way to the coast to get the bomber safely over open water. Now that the bomber was safe, Stigler looks into the bomber’s cabin, saluted Brown and his crew, and flew back into German airspace.

Brown was able to make it back to England where he reported the incident to his officers. He was told not to repeat the story. The officers seemed to want to prevent their men from having positive feelings about enemy pilots. Brown later said, “Someone decided you can’t be human and be flying in a German cockpit.”

Stigler kept his mouth shut too. His act of bravery and compassion would have put him at risk of execution.

Many years later, in 1986, Brown began a search for Stigler. He finally found him in 1990, living in Canada. The two formed a friendship that lasted until their deaths, both in 2008. This story is about showing kindness and compassion. Give your kindness away without expecting anything in return. At its core, compassion is about paying attention to the present moment with a loving attitude and taking action. The German fighter pilot allowed his heart to be greater than his fear for persecution for aiding the enemy. His compassion saved a life and would later form a bond of friendship.

Posted by  On Apr 14, 2019 at 9:32 PM

The year was 1944 and it was Christmas Eve, during the Battle of the Bulge in Germany. A young boy, and his mother were alone in their forested cabin, safe from the icy cold, and they thought, from the American enemy soldiers hiding in the countryside.


Mrs. Vincken and her son, Fritz, heard someone at the door. She opened it to find a group of US soldiers. One had been wounded. She set aside her fears of execution for helping the enemy and let the soldiers in her house. She did not speak English, and they spoke no German, but they were able to talk in French.


Not long after the soldiers had settled in, there was another knock at the door. Mrs. Vincken was afraid that it might be German soldiers, so she opened the door carefully. She was right. There was a very high likelihood that if the German soldiers had no mercy, that she would be shot for harboring the Americans, even if it had been only for those few moments.


The brave woman stepped outside and told the German soldiers that she would serve them a hot dinner but that it was Christmas Eve, and she had guests. She asked the Germans to leave their guns in her shed because, even though they might not like her visitors, Christmas Eve was a night of peace. She then took the guns of the Americans and hid them away as well.

The German soldiers, having honored her request, stepped inside. The atmosphere was awkward at first, until one of the German soldiers, a medic, began work on dressing the wounds of one of the Americans.


Fritz Vincken recounted the incident in an interview with WII History Network: “Then we added more ingredients to our stew and invited these enemies to sit down together for dinner. One of the German soldiers, an ex-medical student, fixed the wounded American and then Mother read from the Bible and declared that there would be at least one night of peace in this war — Christmas night in the Ardennes Forest. After a good night’s rest, they said their goodbyes and went on their way. The German soldiers told the Americans, which way their camp was and gave them a compass to find their way.”


Fritz credits his mother’s personality and generosity when asked why the German soldiers did not turn her in. “I think it was my mom’s personality and her persuasiveness to have them rest for one peaceful night. There was a place to stay, hot food, and shelter from the cold and they appreciated that.”


Mrs. Vincken never saw any of those soldiers again, but Fritz eventually was reunited with two of the Americans. He now lives in Hawaii.


Said Fritz, “Many years have gone since that bloodiest of all wars, but the memories of that night in the Ardennes never left me. The inner strength of a single woman, who, by her wits and intuition, prevented potential bloodshed, taught me the practical meaning of the words: ‘Goodwill Toward Mankind’ . . .  I remember mother and those seven young soldiers, who met as enemies and parted as friends, right in the middle of the battle of the Bulge.”

Compassion arises through empathy and is characterized by actions. Mrs. Vincken’s compassion that night brought comfort and peace to a small group of men known to be enemies. Her example not only had an impact on those soldiers, but it would have a profound and lasting effect on her son. You see a simple act of compassion such as providing a hot meal to strangers, showing a smile, or just giving a kind word to someone you don’t even know can make a world of difference in someone’s life and in yours!

Posted by  On Apr 04, 2019 at 5:22 PM
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