"It is not what we live, but for what we are prepared to die"
How passionate are you about what you are doing in life? Here's a pretty good test---are you prepared to die for what you believe? Sounds extreme doesn't it?
Get a group of World War II veterans together and you're bound to hear old war stories but if you listen closely you'll discover a deeper meaning in those tales. Here's an example of what I mean:
When the Canadians entered World War II the elite fighting force of the Canadian armed services was called upon to engage in a dangerous mission. They were known as the Royal Rifles. Their mission would be extremely dangerous they were told---so much so that it was considered suicidal. Odds were they wouldn't come back.
Forty-two hundred men were asked to put their lives on the line. They were given two day's leave immediately prior to embarking on their mission. Every man returned from leave--but only two hundred returned from the mission. Four thousand died.
Why would any soldier come back from two day's leave to participate in a suicidal mission? At a reunion of the survivors many years later someone posed the question, "Why did you come back to face almost certain death?" "It is not what we live, but what we are prepared to die," was the reply.
Life is most precious when there is something for which we are prepared to die. The impact the lives of those four thousand had on history is immeasurable. But the impact it had on the survivors may be the untold story. They had their lives in perspective when they accepted that mission. Life under a Nazi dictator would not be worth living, they must have reasoned, and death under the flag of freedom had meaning---if the purpose was to preserve that freedom.
One hundred Americans joined the Royal Rifles on that mission. They were the beginning of one of America's elite fighting force and distinguished themselves by adopting the headgear of the Royal Rifles. Many times since those dark days of World War II these Americans have been called upon to defend the Stars and Stripes, our symbol of freedom.
Who are they? They're best described in the lines of this song from the 1960's--"Men who mean just what they say, the brave men of the Green Beret." And what do they say? "It is not what we live, but for what we are prepared to die".
Take it from an old Marine; if you believe in freedom, no explanation is necessary. If you do not, no explanation is possible.
For God and Country
Warner S Weil