“Uncommon valor was a common virtue,” Admiral Chester Nimitz said after the Battle of Iwo Jima in March of 1945.
Surely among the number Nimitz praised were servicemen who, in their younger days, had tried the patience of teachers convinced their young charges would amount to little in life.
Such was the case for three young men depicted in Clint Eastwood’s recently released The 15:17 to Paris.
The movie is not in danger of garnering any Oscars. It’s not a remarkable movie. But it tells a remarkable story.It’s the story of three ordinary guys who met as kids. And they spent a great deal of time in the principal’s office. They excelled at little else besides a fascination with war.
One of them, Spencer Stone, was known for not working hard at anything. Once, he made an effort–a stellar effort–but he fell short. Stone’s vision of saving people’s lives seemed dashed when he didn’t qualify to become a member of the Air Force Pararescue troop.
Yet he learned things in an alternate program–not the things he had dreamed of learning–just the exact things he would need when his day of uncommon valor came in August of 2015.
Stone was on vacation in Europe with his childhood friends, Alek Skarlotos and Anthony Sadler. The three were on the train from Copenhagen to Paris–seemingly by chance. Going to Copenhagen was a last-minute deviation from their plan. And other vacationers had discouraged them from going to Paris.
But they decided to go anyway and ended up on the 15:17 train from Copenhagen to Paris–the train a terrorist had also selected for his plan of mass murder.
The train ride had been uneventful for the three until they heard glass shattering. A bullet had ripped through another passenger and then a window.
Most of the other passengers ran away from the danger. Stone and Skarlotos ran toward it. The two, along with Sadler and a British passenger, subdued the gunman. Sadler then worked to save the gunshot victim.
Stone’s life and military training prepared him for the moment of uncommon valor he shared with two friends and a stranger.
God knows the way before us. He is preparing us for it. Sometimes that way takes us to the fulfillment of our previously unrealized dreams. In Stone’s case–to save lives.
We have only to wait, trust, and rest in His preparation of us.
Photo Credit: Pixabay