Unconditional Friendship

two boys smiling

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There is nothing more special and meaningful in a person’s life to have that one or two special friends that you hold the closest and dearest to your heart. It was once said that truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget. It is so true! True and genuine friendship is one that will last a lifetime.

The following story illustrates this level of friendship in a beautiful way…

There were two childhood buddies who went through kindergarten and all the way to college together.  When war broke, they joined the army together and asked to be assigned to the same unit.  One night while out on patrol, they were ambushed.   Bullets were flying everywhere.

Out of the darkness came a voice, “Harry, help me. Please, Harry, help me.”   Harry immediately recognized the voice of his childhood buddy, Bill. Harry asked the Captain for permission to go out and help his buddy.

The Captain said, “No, I can’t let you go.  I am already short-handed, and I cannot afford to lose one more person. Besides, the way Bill sounds he is not going to make it.

Harry kept quiet, but again Bill’s voice was heard in the darkness, “Harry, please come.  Please, Harry, come help me.”  Harry sat quietly because the Captain had ordered him to.  Again, and again Bill’s voice was heard on the battlefield.

Harry couldn’t contain himself any longer and ran over to the Captain, “Captain, that’s my childhood buddy. I have to go and help.”  The Captain reluctantly agreed and let Harry go.  Harry crawled through the darkness, reached Bill and dragged Bill back into their camp.

When they arrived back at the camp Bill was dead.  Now the Captain was furious and shouted, “Didn’t I tell you he was not going to make it?  He is dead.  You could have been killed and I could have lost a hand.  It was a mistake for you to go out there.”

Harry replied, “No Captain, I did the right thing.  When I reached Bill, he was still alive and his last words to me were ‘Harry, I knew you would come.'”

Absolute…unconditional friendship!

 

Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

The 1936 Olympics was held in Berlin, Germany. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party had risen to power three years earlier and were already to spread their evil beliefs of racism and hate.  Hitler believed that the “perfect” person was from an Aryan race…a blue-eyed, blond haired, the perfect physique without any blemishes or handicaps.

Hitler saw the Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy to the world. The official Nazi party newspaper wrote in the strongest terms that Jews and Black people should not be allowed to participate in the Games.However, when threatened with a boycott of the Games by other nations, Hitler relented and allowed Black people and Jews to participate.

After much deliberation and debate whether or not to boycott the Olympics, the United States and other nations decided to participate in the Games.

One of the American athletes was a Track and Field star named Jesse Owens and he was black. Jesse Owens seemed sure to win the long jump at the 1936 games. The year before he had jumped 26 feet, 8 1/4 inches — a record that would stand for 25 years.

As he walked to the long-jump pit, however, Owens saw a tall, blue eyed, blond German taking practice jumps in the 26-foot range. Owens felt nervous. He was acutely aware of the Nazis‘ desire to prove “Aryan superiority,” especially over blacks. At this point, the tall German introduced himself as Luz Long. “You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed!” he said to Owens, referring to his two jumps. For the next few moments the black son of a sharecropper and the white model of Nazi manhood chatted. Then, Long made a suggestion. Since the qualifying distance was only 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches, why not make a mark several inches before the takeoff board and jump from there, just to play it safe? Owens did and qualified easily. In the finals Owens set an Olympic record and earned the second of four gold medals.

The first person to congratulate him was Luz Long — in full view of Adolf Hitler. Hitler was furious and embarrassed. Owens never again saw Long, who was sent out to the front lines and was killed in World War II. “You could melt down all the medals and cups I have,” Owens later wrote, “and they wouldn’t be a platting on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long.”

~ David Wallechinsky in The Complete Book of the Olympics ~

As previously stated, Long was killed in action, seven years later, on July 14, 1943 fighting for Germany in World War 2 during the invasion of Sicily. Because of his sportsmanship, he was later awarded, posthumously, the Pierre de Coubertin Award. This award is given to former Olympic athletes by the Olympic Committee to recognize the spirit of sportsmanship through in Olympic events or through exceptional service to the Olympic movement.

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This is an amazing story of how a friendship trumped the hatred and racism of a nation and a crazy man’s ideology! How thankful are you of the friends that you have? Could your friendship(s) withstand the “storms” of life and the hard times that might come your way? How much can you go out of your way to be a friend to someone in unpleasant situations? Everyone should remember that taking time to help a stranger…just ONE TIME…can lead to an everlasting friendship. REALLY good friends are hard to find…and if you have one…Be THANKFUL!

Jackie Robinson: A Friendship in the Midst of Racism

reese_mainRacism is an ugly and repulsive belief that millions of people around the world still believe in this poisonous mentality. Therefore, it is always good to hear of stories of people who took a stand against racism despite what people thought of them. Today’s story is about two professional baseball players. One that had to face the evils of racism everywhere he went…and another who decided to show people how he felt about racism and be a friend to his teammate.

Jackie Robinson was the first black to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

Same story different version:  One example of friendship remains with me as vividly as the moment I first heard of it as a boy. In his first seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play Major League baseball, faced venom nearly everywhere he traveled–fastballs at his head, getting spiked on the bases, brutal epithets from the opposing dugouts and from the crowds. During one game in Boston, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak. In the midst of this, another Dodger, a Southern white named Pee Wee Reese, called timeout. He walked from his position at shortstop toward Robinson at second base, put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder, and stood there with him for what seemed like a long time. The gesture spoke more eloquently than the words: This man is my friend. ~ Willie Morris, Parade Magazine

These are great stories of a special man that wasn’t just a leader but also an unconditional friend to someone else that was going through unimaginable circumstances. There are many people who are lonely, made fun of, and need someone to stand up for them…regardless what others say. So, be a friend… a real friend to someone today!

Photo Credit: whenitwasagame.com

A Short Story About Friendship

Horror gripped the heart of a World War-I soldier, as he saw his lifelong friend fall in battle.
The soldier asked his Lieutenant if he could go out to bring his fallen comrade back…”You can go,” said the Lieutenant, “but don’t think it will be worth it. Your friend is probably dead and you may throw your life away.”The Lieutenant’s words didn’t matter, and the soldier went anyway.Miraculously, he managed to reach his friend, hoisted him onto his shoulder and brought him back to their company’s trench.The officer checked the wounded soldier, then looked kindly at his friend “, I told you it wouldn’t be worth it,” he said. “Your friend is dead and you are mortally wounded.”

“It was worth it, Sir,” said the soldier.

“What do you mean by worth it?” responded the Lieutenant.” Your friend is dead.””Yes Sir,” the soldier answered, “but it was worth it because when I got to him, he was still alive and I had the satisfaction of hearing him say……. “Man…I knew you would come! “
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We all have those people that are close to us and are special in our lives. But how many of us would be willing to save the life of a friend while giving up our own? It was once said “Greater love has no one than to lay down their life for a friend”. Let’s all be thankful for the friends that we have and value the time that we spend with them.