Originally published Tuesday, 23 September 2014.
Rice has become a mainstay in our home the last 6 months with our new diet restrictions. Thursday as I was preparing our rice for lunch, a few cooked grains fell to the counter. As I retrieved the three stray grains, my mind wandered to the story of Louis Zamperini as documented by Laura Hillenbrand in her brilliantly crafted book, Unbroken. Shortly after reading his biography I recall telling a friend, "I'll never look at rice the same way again."
You see, for Louis and his fellow Pacific POWs, rice had become a symbol of the horrors they endured. Curious about the connection? Read the book and find out why.
The Pacific POWs who went home in 1945 were torn-down men. They had an intimate understanding of man's vast capacity to experience suffering, as well as his equally vast capacity, and hungry willingness, to inflict it. They carried unspeakable memories of torture and humiliation, and an acute sense of vulnerability that attended the knowledge of how readily they could be disarmed and dehumanized. Many felt lonely and isolated, having endured abuses that ordinary people couldn't understand. (Unbroken, Hillenbrand, p. 349)
The story of Louis Zamperini is one of God's amazing grace and restorative power in the midst of life's pain, the forces of evil, our insufficient coping mechanisms, and His unfailing pursuit of human hearts.
Louis Zamperini went on to be with the Lord the week of July 4, 2014. How fitting that a man who sacrificed years of his life as a POW drew his final breaths so close to the day we celebrate America's Freedom.
Louis Zamperin endured the unimaginable and went on to live a life grounded in Christ Jesus. Praise be to the Lord for sevice men and women like Louis for their service to our country knowing the cost it requires.
May America turn in repentance to Jesus Christ and return to the shining city on a hill that we were founded to be. One that was founded on religious freedom and the quest to spread the gospel. May we recognize and honor the sacrifices valiant men and women make today to secure our liberty and protect our land. My sincerest thanks to them and their families.
I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still ~Ronald Reagan, 1984