The Daily Courier (Prescott, Arizona) – Irene Danon, 82, hid from the Nazis in the former Yugoslavia during World War II. She lost family in the concentration camps and yet she says today that learning to forgive the Germans and others, responsible for the genocide of over 6 million people, is the key to her own survival and healing. She says that her parents both died in their 60s because they could not forgive. Her brother died at age 57 for this same reason.
“I hope to show the world the Holocaust really happened, and in order to move on and heal myself, I have learned to forgive,” Danon said. “Forgiveness is the key for survival and healing.”
San Francisco Chronicle. Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Miami Marlins, allegedly stated in Time magazine that he respects the retired Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, for staying in power for so long. The statement deeply offended Cuban Americans, part of the solid fan base of the baseball team. In Little Havana yesterday, Guillen asked the people of Miami to forgive him for his statement. He said that he does not admire Castro. This controversy shows how statements from a community leader, not said directly to or about people in the community, can affect them deeply.
Sacramento Bee (California newspaper). A “life coach” and a “motivational speaker” offer some helpful tips in the newspaper today. Some of these include: realizing that forgiveness is a marathon not a sprint (the newspaper actually had a typo on that, stating that it is a sprint, but the context clearly shows that this was not meant). Start small and work up to the big issues; although we cannot go back in time and reverse what happened, we can reverse how we think and feel about the incident.
Dayton, Ohio. Sherrie Lackings plans to travel to Texas prior to the execution of the man who murdered her son in 2002. Her primary reason is to offer the man forgiveness before he is executed. The meeting is being set up by the victim/offender mediation dialogue program of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
It was a crime so horrific that it would challenge the limits of any mother’s forgiveness.
On Halloween 2002, Marcus Druery lured 20-year-old Skyyler Browne to a party at his family ranch in rural Brazos County, near College Station, Texas. Without warning Druery shot him point-blank in the head, throat and back, then poured gasoline on his body and set it on fire. Druery paid two stunned witnesses–his then-girlfriend, Joquisha Pitts, and a younger friend, Marcus Harris–$40 each to keep mum. Druery dumped the body in a stock pond on his family’s property.
The past 10 years for Sherrie Lackings, Browne’s mother, have been a journey from shock and overwhelming grief to healing and forgiveness. It is a journey that will culminate when the Lackings travel to Texas for Druery’s execution, slated for Aug. 1.
“It’s the last thing I can do for Skyyler,” Sherrie said. Yet the couple’s journey is less about justice and more about the healing power of forgiveness and their Christian faith. In an unusual gesture, they hope to meet with Druery before his execution to offer him their forgiveness. Full report here.
Chicago Sun Times. Louis Zamperini, age 95, spoke at a Barrington High School recently, recounting his heroism and harrowing experiences prior to and during World War II. He was the featured person in Laura Hillenbrand’s (Seabiscuit) best-selling book, Unbroken. A key to living well, he told the students, was learning to forgive. He used to have nightmares about one particular Japanese soldier who abused him. Asked by one of the students what he would do now if he met that soldier, he said he would forgive and hug the man.
As a 19-year-old track star known as the “Torrence Tornado” for his hometown in California, Louis Zamperini went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and met Hitler.
But his dramatic life story hadn’t even begun to be written until several years later, when his plane was shot down in the Pacific Ocean in World War II and he went on to cheat death many times in dramatic fashion.
It’s a story that was turned into a best-selling book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, author of another bestseller, Seabiscuit: An American Legend.