Enemies of war are Enemies no more

If you have read any of my other postings on this blog, you may have noticed a frequent theme of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Well, here is another one!

On the cover of last Sunday’s Akron Beacon Journal was a true story that was mega-fascinating to me.  Part of the article reads, “In search of peace, understanding and reconciliation, a dozen area members of Warriors Journey Home, a ministry at Tallmadge’s First Congregational Church, traveled to Vietnam for three weeks in October”*, 40 years after the Vietnam war.

Another excerpt from the article reads, “Still, despite the fact that their country was ravaged by war, Vietnamese today welcome their former enemies with open arms.  ‘From the bottom of my heart, spirit and soul, I am sorry for what I did to your people,’ veteran Ralph Knerem told Tien (a Vietnamese Veteran), through interpreter Tranh Song.  ‘Would you forgive me?’  Not knowing what exactly to expect, Knerem, who was a U.S. Army infantry soldier, waited for the man’s reply.  To his surprise, Tien responded by asking for the American’s forgiveness.  As they embraced in Tien’s home, tears streamed down their cheeks.  ‘It was like we were old platoon buddies,’ added Joe Caley, who served as a 1st Air Cavalry scout dog handler for the U.S. Army.  ‘Although we fought on different sides, what we did was the same.  Our fear was the same.  Our hopes were the same.  Our worries were the same.’ “*

Two men, who 40 years ago shot bullets at each other are now embracing each other and understanding one another.  That image, my friends, is the power of forgiveness.

This story was a great reminder that forgiveness and reconciliation are always possible.  It was also a reminder that even readers of a secular newspaper are hungry for reconciliation.  May we seek out opportunities to reconcile in our lives.



*Quoted text is credited to Kim Hone-McHahan of the Akron Beacon Journal, published on 2/20/2011.


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