have done for ourselves alone dies with us but what we have done for
others and the world
will be remembered. If we treat
a person as he is, he will remain as he is. But if we treat him as he could
be, he will become what he should be.
learn from the following story by an author who has chosen to
twenty-year-old soldier, recently reduced in rank from buck sergeant to
buck private, stood outside base headquarters and read his orders again.
"Report to Captain McDanial at..."
No doubt this Captain McDanial would know of the privateís recent
release from the base stockade at Fukuoka after serving five months of a
six-months sentence for stealing $420.00 of military script money and a
45 caliber pistol from the 2nd Airdrome Squadronís post office.
Might as well get ready for a nasty chewing out, he mumbled to himself
as he hoisted his duffle bag to his shoulder and climbed the steps to
the entryway. After stepping inside and setting his belongings down in
an out of the way spot, he surveyed the orderly room. The first sergeant
was sitting at a desk near the wooden railing and three other clerical
types were beyond him, two seated at desks, and one at a filing cabinet.
The private nervously handed over his orders to the first sergeant and
said, "I am to report to Captain McDanial."
"Oh, youíre private _____. The captain said he wants to see you the
moment you got here. He has a special assignment for you. Door on your
left at the end of the room. Knock three times and wait until he says,
'come in,' before you enter, then march up to his desk, come to
attention and salute."
Yikes, the private said to himself, as he headed toward the Captain's
door. A special assignment? Looks like Iím in for it now!
The 'come in,' command was sharp and authoritative. The private braced
himself for the ordeal and taking a deep breath opened the door and
strode to within three paces of the captainís desk where he saluted and
said, "Private _______ reporting as ordered sir."
"Stand at ease, private. Iíve read the transcript of your courts
martial. That, and a copy of your conduct while in the stockade were
forwarded to me by your commanding officer. I note that you achieved
trustee status after two months, and that your conduct was that of a
model soldier in confinement. Because of this, Iíve decided to give you
a special assignment. Perhaps the first sergeant mentioned this to you?"
"Yes sir. He did."
"Good," he said, as he got to his feet while opening and reaching inside
the top drawer of his desk.
"Here," the Captain said, as he stretched out his hand toward the
private. "Here is $420.00 in military script. Go to the base post office
and buy a money order with it. On your way, get your barracks assignment
from the first sergeant, then report to me tomorrow morning at 0800
hours with the money order. Any questions?"
The private was too astounded to formulate a question! Here was this
captain, who only knew of him what he had read in the courts martial
transcript, entrusting him with $420.00 in military script money - the
exact amount he and his partner in crime had stolen. By giving him until
tomorrow morning to complete the special assignment, the captain had
created the opportunity for the private to get a great head start if he
decided to go AWOL with it. Why was the captain doing this?
"No questions, sir."
The private came to attention, saluted, did an about-face and strode
briskly to the door. He turned the knob, pulled the door towards him and
while momentarily facing the captain said, "Sir?"
The captain looked up.
"Thank you, sir," the private sang in a joyous voice!
The captain waved him out.
The private almost skipped down the street towards the base post office
he was so thrilled at the trust this Captain McDanial had placed in him.
How could the private do anything else when the captain had so clearly
demonstrated his faith in him?
Captain McDanial's 'special assignment' was much more than a routine
chore. It was an opportunity for the private to restore his dignity.
Postscript: Later in that month of April 1948, Captain McDanial arranged
a thirty day emergency leave for the private when the private received
news that his older sister had been involved in an automobile accident
and was not expected to live.
It has been said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season,
or a lifetime. Captain McDanial (his real name) was one of those people
who come into our lives for a reason. The private has never seen, or
heard, from the captain again; but he has never forgotten him and what
he did for the private with his 'Special Assignment.'
is no human being who does not deserve our forgiveness. There is no
human being who does not deserve our love...