Toured Texas A&M University today. I knew the visit would be ripe for inspirational ideas today, so I waited until the right momemt. It came when I walked down a hall way dedicated to the many medal of honor recipients that had attended the University. They each were honored with their picture, the medal on display, and the synopsis that was used in the Library of Congress to describe why they were given the award. For some reason, I was drawn toward Eli Whiteley.
In WWII he was a lieutenant leading a platoon of infrantry to attack a well guarded position in the French town of Sigosheim. When I read the inscription i was inspired considering what did Eli wake up to that morning? What was going on in his head to cause him to act the way he did? To lead the charge?
Before I comment, here is the word for word description:
While leading his platoon on December 27, 1944, in savage house-to-house fighting through the fortress town of Sigolsheim, France, he attacked a building through a street swept by withering mortar and automatic weapons fire. He was hit and severely wounded in the arm and shoulder; but he charged into the house alone and killed its 2 defenders. Hurling smoke and fragmentation grenades before him, he reached the next house and stormed inside, killing 2 and capturing 11 of the enemy. He continued leading his platoon in the extremely dangerous task of clearing hostile troops from strong points along the street until he reached a building held by fanatical Nazi troops. Although suffering from wounds which had rendered his left arm useless, he advanced on this strongly defended house, and after blasting out a wall with bazooka fire, charged through a hail of bullets. Wedging his submachine gun under his uninjured arm, he rushed into the house through the hole torn by his rockets, killed 5 of the enemy and forced the remaining 12 to surrender. As he emerged to continue his fearless attack, he was again hit and critically wounded. In agony and with 1 eye pierced by a shell fragment, he shouted for his men to follow him to the next house. He was determined to stay in the fighting, and remained at the head of his platoon until forcibly evacuated. By his disregard for personal safety, his aggressiveness while suffering from severe wounds, his determined leadership and superb courage, 1st Lt. Whiteley killed 9 Germans, captured 23 more and spearheaded an attack which cracked the core of enemy resistance in a vital area.
When we wake up everyday, are we ready to respond when called upon to heroically lead others into battle? To not just lead, but never give up? To put everything on the line and leave nothing else to give? Will people drag us out the action, completely drained, exhausted, and spent?
What does it take to be that way? Could we capture this spirit and be this way in life, even when it is the normal everyday things and not Nazi soldiers attacking us? Could we rise each day with this sort of passion? What would that be like?