View Mobile Site

Overwhelming selfless sacrifice by our soldiers

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED May 31, 2010 3:18 a.m.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13

I found myself thinking of that passage in the Bible after the 7 o’clock Mass on Sunday morning. What prompted the thought was Father Patrick Walker, the pastor, telling me that Sally Monsoor would be attending the next Mass at 8:45 a.m. According to Father Walker, and based on what he had been told, one of the things that Monsoor wanted to make sure when she was invited to take part in this past weekend’s packed Memorial Day weekend’s observances was that there be a Catholic church nearby where she could go for Sunday Mass.

For those who consistently keep themselves up to date with current events, the name Monsoor does not need an explanation. Monsoor’s son, Michael, a U.S. Navy Seal, paid the ultimate price of freedom in the war in Iraq. On Sept. 29, 2006, the soldier was on a rooftop when a grenade tossed by an insurgent hit him in the chest before bounding down to the ground. Yelling, “grenade!” to his fellow American soldiers, he jumped without a moment’s hesitation and covered the grenade with his body effectively shielding the other soldiers from fatal injuries. Two were injured and one escaped injury. Michael Monsoor died 30 minutes later.

His name was one of those added to the Traveling Tribute to those who lost their lives in the Global War on Terror. It’s his smiling face that people see when they read the names on the Tribute’s Panel #9, the latest addition to this moving memorial that contains the names of the 5,800 brave American men and women who gave their all and spilled their blood in alien-sounding far-flung lands so that freedom would not be alien to mankind. Sally Monsoor, who is from Southern California, was invited to be the guest at the unveiling and dedication of that ninth panel. She was escorted by Admiral-elect Margaret Rykowski of the Third Fleet. That solemn occasion was one of several events Saturday which kicked off the three-day Memorial Day observances in Manteca.

In calling to mind the courageous act of Navy Seal Monsoor, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on April 29, 2006, I thought of a 33-year-old man who set the perfect selfless example more than 2,000 years ago for friends and enemies alike to emulate. That man, of course, was God made man, Jesus Christ.

As my brother and I had a discussion via telephone on the above scripture reading after Sunday Mass, he drew my attention to another man during World War II who offered himself in place of another man who faced certain death in the hands of the German Nazis in the dreaded Auschwitz concentration camp. Crying, “My wife! My children!” as he was dragged away by the Nazis, fellow prisoner Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to take the man’s place. The Franciscan friar was executed by lethal injection in Auschwitz on Aug. 14. He was 47 years old. On Oct. 10, 1982, the late Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian Kolbe who is, today, the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, amateur radio and the pro-life movement. He was also declared by Pope Joph Paul II as The Patron Saint of Our Difficult (20th) Century.”

Calling to mind Michael Monsoor’s bravery at such a young age, it is indeed extremely overwhelming to think that today, even now, at this very moment, someone’s blood is being spilled somewhere, paying the highest price for the sake of their fellow men’s freedom in a never ending flow of sacrifices in the unbroken, unending preservation of peace.

Awesome is a word that is often overused and abused. But in the face of such brave selfless acts, the word is buried in such stark poverty, hardly adequate to convey even just an infinitesimal fraction of its full meaning.

Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...