My friend Mike told me the following story, it was a powerful moment he told us it and I wanted to share because it just shows the drive and determination of some people, and how determination can save others lives:
I hope I write this as good as it was told to me, so here it goes…
A fisherman asked Mike (The manager of fishing ponds) one day if the fishing pools gave discount to ex forces, Mike replied ‘Yes of course’
” Good, because the guy over there in the wheelchair was Ex Forces, go speak to him”
Mike walked over to the old gentleman in the wheelchair, he was sat talking to himself and chilling out by a willow tree. The gentleman (who never spoke his name) only had one leg and had much damage to his arms.
” I hear you are Ex Forces Sir, I would like to tell you that you have discount whenever you come here to fish” Mike calmly said to the gentleman in the wheelchair ensuring he didn’t spook him.
“Thank-you young sir, would you like to hear a story of my time in the forces?”
Mike being ex forces himself also, replied with a huge yes, he sat by the gentleman with open ears.
” I was in Burma, in the jungle, myself and a friend were captured and made Prisoners of War, when we were taken to our ‘new home’ we met lots of men who were just skin and bone, they had marks of abuse, their eyes were full of pain and a lot of them just sat humming to themselves, rocking back and forth as a sign of comfort..or insanity. After a few months I had lost all my weight, I had no energy but I needed to get out of the prison I was in. One day I arranged a meeting with a couple more POW, I told them I wanted to get out and I needed people to cause an alarm so I could get away quickly. “They will kill you, they will kill us, you will never get away!” they all said, but I wanted to try, I was determined to get away. “And even if you do, you will be stuck in the jungle, no food or water, you will die!” They all cried at me.
“I don’t care, If I escape and die in the jungle, at least I will die a free man.” I spoke to the others.
The next day, there was a huge riot, the POW started fighting and caused a diversion for me to get away, It took me a while, but my friend and I, we got away. We just ran, and ran, we ended up running into the jungle, it was dry, we were thirsty, we wanted to eat and so binged on the grubs around, whether they were insects or plants – we ate it, we didn’t care. We were in the jungle for 2 weeks before we were found, our own countrymen found us and took us back to be fed and watered at the camp. We had lost a lot of weight, my ribs stuck out, you could see all the vertebrae in my spine through my skin, I needed food….and once I had been fed and watered to the point I had a little energy I turned to my friend.
” I am going back.”
“Going back where?” My friend spoke with wide eyes and hoping I wasn’t going to say what he was thinking.
“I am going to save the others, they need to be free men as well.”
My friend, with a face of complete horror in his face I also saw a glint in his eye
The next day we grenaded a tank, we got in and we were well on our way to save the others. We had ammunition, we had the tank, we had drive.
5am in the morning, we stormed the POW prison, the wardens had no idea, we fought with everything we had – which wasn’t much, but we had determination.
By 8am that morning, we had saved 200 prisoners of war and got them back to our camp.
We saved ourselves to save others.
A couple of weeks later, the old gentleman passed away, his ashes were buried in the place he would sit on a day to day basis at the fishing ponds, and every time I walk past his ashes, I tip my hat to him.
A story so true, it sounds unreal, but it just shows through determination, desperation and drive…anything is possible.
(Picture received at google images, no relation to the story)