Thursday, May 19, 2016

Good can come out of anything...

I've often said that good things can come out of any situation.  Yesterday, I read about two American men in their 90s who were soldiers during World War II.  The first man I read about, William Phelps, was a 19 year old first sergeant when he was a gunner in World War II.  Now 90 years old, he remembers what it was like when he and two dozen other soldiers entered Mauthausen Concentration Camp outside of Linz, Austria.  There, he saw stacks of dead people.  Those who were still living were emaciated, sick, and exhausted.  Phelps and his comrades helped liberate the camp and Phelps went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam, later retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

Phelps recently went to Poland and Israel with a group called Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), which is a non-profit group that was formed by Holocaust survivors in 1981.  Mauthausen was not one of the camps the group visited on their most recent tour.

I was impressed enough by Phelps' story until I saw another one.  94 year old Sid Shafner also journeyed to Poland and Israel, where he was honored for helping to liberate about 30,000 prisoners from Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945.  Included with Shafner's story was an extremely moving video.

Shafner met Marcel Levy for the first time when Levy was 19 years old.  Marcel convinced Shafner and his comrades to divert from their route to help the prisoners, which they did.  In the course of the rescue, Shafner and Levy formed an instant bond and became good friends.  

The above video was shot last week at an Israeli military base.  I couldn't help but tear up as I watched it.  These two men from different worlds were brought together by a terrible war.  They came through that experience as dear friends whose obvious love for each other endures over 70 years after they first met.  It's beautiful to see their love captured on video.  Had it not been for World War II, this amazing scene probably wouldn't exist.  

War is a horrible thing.  It's destructive.  And yet, good things can come out of a war.  Many people die during wars, but many people are also born.  Wars force cultures to clash, but they also provide a means for people to come together and promote understanding.  Wars result in grievous injuries to people, but they also allow for innovation, especially in medical care.  As we've seen in the video above, war can also lead to wonderful friendships.      

Hell, even Bill's disastrous first marriage led to good things.  Because of Bill's ex wife, I have gotten to learn about Mormonism.  I have educated myself and met some fantastic people.  I doubt I would have explored Mormonism had it not been for my husband's situation.  That would be a shame because I probably wouldn't have "met" Alexis, my number one reader.  

So... I guess today's thought is that even if you're faced with something horrific, there may be something good that comes out of the experience.  It's all in your perspective.  But I know it's hard to keep something like that in mind when things get really tough.   


  1. I lost a semi-lenghty reply. In summation, I much prefer the expression "Good can come from anything" to the trite [and in my opinion untrue] "Everything happens for a reason."


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