I grew up in the shadows of my father's memories of fighting in World War II. I remember sitting at his feet while he shared stories of life and death scenarios he witnessed the fearless courage of those who served. Whenever I drive north to ski at Mammoth Mountain and pass by Manzanar, those stories rush back. Manzanar was the first of 10 internment camps (1942-1945) built in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Arkansas. Approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans were removed from their homes and held against their will simply because American's were afraid they had more loyalty to their homeland than they did for the USA.
Historian Eric Saul tells the story of The Legacy of Heart Mountain-Dachau Liberation in a documentary that talks about American Japanese soldiers who went to war against Germany and Japan while their families waited in those internment camps (http://www.heartmountainfilm.com/).
"Often in life, there are forces beyond our control, that drive us to a destiny we could never predict. Bringing us to a place that tests our character, our will, our faith. Perhaps that destiny is life's most difficult challenge, but out of it comes our greatest moment."
In life, it's the challenges we face and overcome that develop our character. When we succumb to the challenges we face and quit fighting, a part of our soul dies. Only through fighting through the challenges can we become stronger. When we look back at those challenges from the side of victory it does something miraculous inside of us. It is silent, unseen, but very real and only those who have experienced near death challenges have it.
We all have opportunities to press through our own challenges each and every day. Just living means we will have challenges, some larger than others, but each of us has a choice to press through and fight or lie down and quit. What will you tell your children and your grandchildren about your life that will have meaning many years from now? Will it be the story of victory where you fought for your life or how you found comfort in quitting? The stories of the past contrast so differently from the stories of our present, but both will be recorded in history. What will be the stories of your life? What will be your greatest moment?