Sailor Elgin Staples was aboard the USS Astoria fighting the battle at Guadalcanal. His ship went down and Sailor Staples was able to stay alive in the water for hours until rescue in large part due to the life belt you see him wearing above.
The key to the story is that the woman in the picture is his mother. Mrs. Staples was the inspector of the life belts in the Akron, Ohio Firestone plant that saved her own son’s and many others’ lives that day. At the end of my piece, I will give you a link to a more full accounting with a fine video presentation by Gary Sinise.
My use of this is that each person will look at such a set of events and draw different conclusions. What is the truth of what we see happen around us?
Some will say that with billions of people and trillions of events on this planet, it is simply chance that dictates this would eventually happen. It is just as given enough monkeys and enough typewriters to randomly tap upon, eventually one of them will write Shakespeare.
The next will say that it is the hand of a personal God. That all the events were under His direction.
Still others will say that it is due to more subtle interconnections that are universal.
And some will only see the useless savagery of war and care not at all about the story.
Every one of those perspectives can be expressed with intelligence and sensitivity. What I am trying to communicate is the need to engage one another’s beliefs with respect and support. Even those of us who “believe the same thing” ultimately don’t, for we each have individual views. They are part of what we are. When our view is attacked without respect, we defend because we are defending ourselves.
But, when we share with respect for the other, what we achieve is an encouragement through acceptance. Then our own perspective grows organically in the exchange. The key is not to accept the belief as one’s own, the key is to consider it with respect. This is not the same as dumbing down or Pollyanna coloring of truth.
That is pretty close to universal good in my eyes.
Here is the link: http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/Sailors_Stories/Elgin_Staples.html