Dove in a War Zone
by ~ Anita J. Skocz
One evening in 1987, while viewing the television mini series “Out on a Limb,” a locked door deep inside my father flew open. His facial expression announced an “ah ha” moment, when Shirley MacLaine left her body to astral travel. In that instant, his eyes that were fixated on the television turned there gaze to me, and he began a dialog held inside for forty three years. It was as though he received permission to share a well protected secret ~ as he revealed to me that he left his body, while severely wounded near a small village in France in 1944. He had always been quiet about his time in the service, and I listened intently as he chose his words slowly. I understood, as I too had a “near death” experience, and found our language lacks, when trying to communicate such a profound spiritual experience.
My dad was a dove in a war zone. As most men during WWII, he found the courage within to fight for his country, and for those unjustly being exterminated by the tortured soul, Adolph Hitler. One night my father’s platoon took heavy fire from the Germans, who were tucked away in the hillsides. As his outfit marched toward a French village, they were ambushed, and there was no firing back from my father’s fellow soldiers ~ as most were killed instantly. My dad laid helplessly along a lonely road in a distant country, as his body, filled with shrapnel, spilled its blood on the soil of France.
As he told his story it was with sincere reverence for those men that death visited that night. With a soft voice he recalled staying motionless, hoping he would be assumed dead by the Germans. As the reality of what happened rooted itself inside him, he heard something. The voice of the medic, not far away, whispered.
“Anyone out there? Anyone alive?’
My father struggling to hold on to consciousness, whispered.
“I am on the other side of the road; I believe I am bleeding badly.”
The medic, the only other voice on this tragic night, tossed packets of sulfa powder to my dad. The white substance was used on the wounds to stop infection. With the energy graced to him, my father moved his hands ever so slowly to spread the powder over his left side ~ riddled with wounds. Exhausted from this effort, he weakly whispered a thank you. Unfortunately, his angel ~ his life saver ~ had died as well.
As my father put his trust in prayer, he felt himself lift from his body to see not only his lifeless figure, but those of his buddies. He continued into the “blessed white light,” a light where peace and bliss are redefined. At the same time, across the ocean in Glen Dale, Pennsylvania, his mother woke up from her early morning sleep to see him standing at the foot of her bed.
After watching “Out on a Limb,” my father told in detail incredible stories of his years in the service ~ before and after this experience. But, I chose this one night, because it defined his life. Instead of bragging about his courage, or complaining about the pain and shrapnel his body carried all his life, my dad lived as a humble loving peace filled man. With a sacredness, he approached each day as an opportunity to be of service to all fortunate enough to cross his path. He left the horrors of war on the battlefield to be an emissary of the love and peace and boundless joy he infused with as he “danced in the light” that transforming night in France.
I salute my father this Veteran’s Day as a dutiful soldier, but also as a man who changed many lives with his generosity of money, spirit, love, laughter and peace. The dove in the war zone returned ~ a dove.
Edward T. Skocz Beloved Husband and Father ~ 1919 – 2006
I am grateful this day for all the men and women who have served, and continue to serve in our armed services. God bless each and everyone of you.
In order for us human beings to commit ourselves personally to the inhumanity of war, we find it necessary first to dehumanize our opponents, which is in itself a violation of the beliefs of all religions. Once we characterize our adversaries as beyond the scope of God’s mercy and grace, their lives lose all value. We deny personal responsibility when we plant landmines and, days or years later, a stranger to us — often a child – is crippled or killed. From a great distance, we launch bombs or missiles with almost total impunity, and never want to know the number or identity of the victims.
JIMMY CARTER, Nobel Lecture, Dec. 10, 2002