We Met a Hero

You've probably seen this image before. It's a picture of the Bataan Death March during World War II. I've lately had a renewed interest in history & the wars - actually, not renewed.. but just "new", as I've never appreciated history until the last few years. I regret this. I cannot even tell you who started or who finished any of the major wars & battles our country has fought.

As part of my recent history education, I checked out The War documentary from our local library. I had to return the DVD's before finishing, but in just the few hours I watched, I was educated, amazed, horrified and humbled. I realize that I know very little about my country and even less about sacrificing for a cause greater than me.

One of the profiled characters in the documentary is Col. Glenn D. Frazier. He's written a book (I've yet to read it) entitled Hell's Guest, sharing his personal experience as one of the few Bataan survivors. Col. Frazier is one of the men in the war photo above & below (in the dark pants).

I'll not give a history lesson here, because I'm still learning. Needless to say that it's near miraculous that any survived the death march at all! I will, however, highly recommend the video documentary. It obviously contains some violent war imagery & language, but it's an incredible series.
Well, to further motivate me to continue learning about the men who sacrificed their lives for my freedom, I was given a unique opportunity in the Lord's kindness to meet Col. Frazier this summer during our vacation in Gulf Shores. Our family visited the USS Alabama in Mobile Sunday afternoon, and to my suprise, Col. Frazier was there signing copies of his book. Words cannot express the privilege and even the emotion I felt as I met this man who spent 3 1/2 years of his life in a Japanese POW camp. I tried to explain to my son the importance & rare opportunity we had... but I'm not sure he fully understood.
From reading some of the end of his book, I gathered that Col. Frazier is now a Christian and has forgiven those who inflicted such injustices on him and his fellow soldiers. I shook the colonel's hand and thanked him for his service and sacrifice. I also tried expressed my joy in God's gift of forgiveness towards him and how the Lord gave him the ability to forgive others. It was all I could do to hold back tears.

The Wilson family with Col. Glenn Frazier, June 2008

Here's a clip from The War featuring Col. Frazier:


tnfpb said...

Very interesting!

I have, coincidentally, been reading history recently as well. I finished Flags of Our Fathers a couple of weeks ago (a gripping history of lives of the men in the flag raising photograph from Iwo Jima), and am currently reading Paul Johnson's Modern Times.

I totally know what you mean when you say you were "amazed, horrified and humbled." Reading what the Marines went through on Iwo Jima... there really aren't any good enough words.

Anonymous said...

Awesome... what a privilege.

I remember seeing him throughout the series and thinking, "this guy has some serious stuff to deal with... to experience and witness so much sheer evil and not to be consumed."

That can only be be overcome with a relentless grace. Praise God!