A couple of months ago, I took advantage of Mundelein’s proximity to Lake Michigan (only about 9 miles) and decided to see the lake from somewhere besides the Chicago lakefront. So I got my act together and took ol’ Patsy the Sonata to Fort Sheridan and had a walk around by the lakefront, the historic fort, etc. It was an awesome day.
On my way home, I thought I’d be adventurous and drive north on the famous Sheridan Road and gawk at big houses and stuff. Shortly after leaving Fort Sheridan, I noticed a gigantic crucifix monument thing and later saw it was part of Fort Sheridan cemetery (another place I’d never heard of).
As I walked around, I came across the grave of a guy named Irving Palmer who, from what I can gather, was stationed in the Philippines.
Except when I looked closer at his headstone, I realized he wasn’t a guy, he was a kid; killed at only 21 years old. Then it dawned on me, “hey, that’s only a year younger than you!” The kid died for his country at the age of 21. You gotta be kidding me. That spurred a huge philosophical discussion in my head regarding for what and for whom I’d be willing to give my life.
It’s one thing to be like, “Oh my God, Janet, I’d literally DIE for a donut right now”, and completely another to be like, “Oh my, [God, country, family, best friend, etc], I’d literally lay my life down for you right now.”
The point is that I feel like we say we’d die for a lot of things and people in our lives and I certainly don’t question the authenticity of those claims. Maybe Irving Henry Palmer went into the service because he wanted to protect his country and knew that part of that was the risk of death. But I want to know what it was like for him at the moment of his death. That moment when it dawned on him that this was the moment he’d thought about but never supposed would actually come. “Lots of my friends came back safe. My father and his father came back safe. But now this moment is here.” I don’t know. I can’t really even imagine something like that. War seems so foreign to me.
Everyday, our brother and sister Christians in the Middle East are facing the moment they’d heard about and never supposed would actually come. Right now, if you asked, I would tell you that I would die for Christ and for his Church if the circumstances played out that way. But, like, in the actual moment, what would happen? Would I flake out? Would I be strong? Would I be a wimp?
And what if no one knew what I did? Would that still be ok with me?
What if it happened before I felt it was “my turn”?
This post has no point. Just my curiosity. We say we’ll die for lots of things, but in the end, at the moment…will we?
They say you die 3 times: first when your body dies, second when the last person stops mourning you, and third when the last time your name is ever mentioned. Here’s hoping the last 500 words contribute to the memory and the living-on of Irving Henry Palmer, a patriot and just a kid.