Our small town local newspaper runs a column every week penned by James Sands. His writing has only interested me recently, a fact I believe has to do with my own reality of nearing retirement age. But this is a subject for yet another post.
It was the title of Sands’ column that first caught my eye: “Gallian shared prison with noted Olympian.” The noted Olympian he is referring to is Eric Liddell,(http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Liddell), the Britain featured in the film, ‘Chariots of Fire.’ He was the runner who refused to run the 100 meter race in the 1924 Olympics because it was scheduled to run on a Sunday.
This seems rather unnecessary today when compared to contemporary standards where Sunday IS the day set aside for sports. It was this fact that actually fired up this RedState reader into launching out as a RedState Diarist for the first time.Sands’ article recounted Liddell’s 400 meter run:
“As Liddell went to the starting blocks for the 400-meter race in the 1224 Olympics, an American handed Liddell a note which said, ‘Those who honor me I will honor.’ It was a quote from the Bible in I Samuel 2:30. Liddell ran with the piece of paper in his hand and not only ran the race but broke the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds.”
This Olympian did not position his achievements to maximize his worth for millions of dollars in media exposure and lucrative sponsors. He graduated from Edinburgh University and returned to Northern China as a missionary following in his parents’ footsteps. Amazing!
This example of self-sacrifice is nearly all but absent in our culture today. Thankfully, many Americans followed this example after 9/11. Many of our veterans come from the heartland of this great country, the small towns and villages where values really still matter.
What really struck me was the fact that Eric Liddell did not return to his native Scotland. He was taken captive during WWII and was imprisoned with 1800 others including 200 children in a Japanese internment camp near Weihsien, China.
Mr. Sands always blends local history into his articles and wrote about a local man who was also imprisoned at the same time at Weihsien.