Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A breathtaking image in today's WSJ

Was startled by the photo that appeared on the front page of today's WSJ. It seems strangely plopped into the general news of the day: showdown on fund taxes; incumbents in danger of losing; poor South Africans protest against government neglect.

And in the middle of the page, a striking photograph of two men in a moment of intimacy. Click on that link and you'll see the image of one soldier comforting a seriously wounded comrade.

This is a picture of man at his most vulnerable. A soldier wounded in Afghanistan. A man far from home. Surrounded by enemies in a foreign land. Sent there to protect his country.

A friend holds a Bible and offers a cigarette to comfort the wounded man. He is reading the wounded soldier's favorite Psalm, Psalm 91. It appears as if someone else not in the picture is holding the wounded man's hand.

In a moment of horror, a wounded soldier finds solace from God and men.

This picture haunts me. It reminds me that in our time of need, we reach out to others - and they reach out to help us. And it reminds me that at this very moment, soldiers are risking their lives to protect our rights as Americans.

Amidst the news of the terrible black plume poisoning the ocean, the struggle to inject a sense of duty, honor and an emotion other than greed into the financial sector, the ridiculous spectacle that is the Blago trial, it is essential to remember that men and women are dying to protect America. We cannot forget this. Our soldiers are protecting our right to be American. We must honor them with our actions.

The Psalm the soldier wanted to hear:

Psalm 91
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust." For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day; nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand my fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. You will look only with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation; no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will rescue and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

1 comment:

jigs said...

I also found the photo that ran in the WSJ most poignant. It's beyond my comprehension how in that flash of a second when this image was captured, there is one small frame that bears hope, fear, belief, the love of friendship, comfort. Dazzling. I'm certain it will earn a Pulitzer Prize. I was especially touched as my son was recently deployed to Afghanistan and his recent emails describe the anguish in sending home those fallen heroes who are someone's sons, grandsons and fathers. I pray for all of our troops there. Thanks for acknowledging this phenomenal photo.