[June 23, 2021] Sometimes, life gives us a chance to measure our worth. And, once in a while, we are called upon to make a split-second decision to do the right thing, defining which way our life will go.
Life doesn’t come with a script.
These are decisions that define us and show others who we are. I’m a baseball fan, and I vividly remember the day one of the greatest plays in baseball occurred. It was April 25, 1976, on a warm afternoon in Dodger Stadium. Center Fielder Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs grabbed the American Flag from a man and his son as they were attempting to burn it in the middle of the playing field.
It is an outstanding display of American Patriotism.
A modest man, Monday, notes that “I don’t know anyone who would not have done the same thing.” After a popout fly, Rick Monday saw the two “protesters” attempting to light the flag. He dashed over and grabbed the flag to thunderous cheers. Rick Monday spent 19 seasons in Major League Baseball but is known chiefly for his split-second decision to save the American Flag. As he tells it, if saving the American flag is all that he is known for, then it’s not such a bad thing.
201 years earlier, another split-second decision.
In the gray dawn hours of April 19, 1775, at Lexington, Massachusetts, colonial minutemen assembled, expecting to meet British troops headed their way. Minuteman Captain, Jonas Parker, commanded his men not to fire upon the British unless fired upon. A British officer ordered the colonials to disperse and fired his pistol. The minutemen returned shots from their position and set a hasty retreat. Parker was heard often to say that he would never run from the enemy. He was good at his word and stood his ground. Having loaded his musket, he fired his musket but was also hit by a British ball. Sinking to his knees, he readied his next musket charge. As he did so, Parker was transfixed by a British bayonet and died on the spot where he first stood.
“Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did. No sane man. They save us all.” – Iraqi Policeman
On April 22, 2008, two U.S. Marines were assigned to watch together at the entrance of an outpost in Ramadi, Iraq. The outpost contained the makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines and 100 Iraqi police. Ramadi, at the time, was the most dangerous city on earth and owned by the terrorist group Al Qaeda. A few minutes after they were on duty, a large suicide truck turned down the alleyway and sped its way through the outpost’s protective barriers. It took six seconds for the two Marines to take aim and open fire. The Iraqis ran. The Marines stood; they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. Then, within only a few feet of the Marines, the truck exploded with over 2,000 pounds of explosives, killing them both instantly and saving those in the outpost.
Sometimes we are defined by split-second decisions.
And that is, as it should be.