Lt. John Kreigshauser was at the controls of his crippled American B-17 on February 22, 1944 and striving with all the skills at his command to get it safely back to England. Dubbed the “Mi Amigo,” meaning “my friend” in Spanish, the WWII bomber was carrying ten American airmen, and had been badly shot up on its mission to bomb a German airfield in Nazi-occupied Denmark. It had already jettisoned its 4,000-pound payload of bombs in the North Sea, but the plane’s failing engines told the pilots they were not going to be able to make it to their landing strip. Then, as hope began to fade, the pilots spotted a park in Sheffield, England, where they might be able to make a crash landing. However, just as they approached, they saw a group of young boys playing exactly where they needed to land. One of those boys was eight-year-old Tony Foulds. As Tony tells the story, he saw the pilots waving their hands, apparently trying to signal to the boys to get out of the way, but it was too late. Rather, than risk killing the boys, the pilots flew on and crashed into a nearby hill. All those on board died. Seventy-five years later, a memorial stone with a plaque, surrounded by ten oak trees, marks the crash site, and, since 1969, a service has been conducted there on the anniversary of the crash. On the seventh-fifth anniversary, American planes will conduct a memorial flyover of the site. Tony Foulds, now in his eighties, all these years later still experiences pangs of grief and guilt, as he contemplates even his indirect responsibility for the deaths of these ten men. He is convinced that they died to save his life or, as he
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ” (Romans 5:6-8).
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himself, puts it, “It’s me that killed them.” He visits the site almost daily to weep over, speak to, and remember the dead airmen who, though strangers, gave their lives for him. This moving story is reminiscent of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. Yet, Christ’s sacrifice is greater for several reasons. First , it was Christ, the very Son of God, who died, and not a human who died for humans. Second , Christ died, not for innocent children, and not just for those who never knew Him, but for those who were actually hostile to Him in their sins. Indeed, most of those for whom He died never appreciate, recall, or respond to the sacrifice He made for them. Third , the sacrifice of Christ holds such potential value that it is sufficient to save, not just a few boys, but the whole world (1 John 2:2). Fourth , Christ died, not just to extend people’s earthly lives, but to give them an eternity with God in heaven (1 Peter 3:18). The only tree remembered in connection with Jesus’ death is the one on which He died, the only stone the one which the angel rolled away from His tomb to signify His resurrection, and the only memorial the one which His disciples observe every Sunday in the Lord’s Supper. Yet, because they know that He died that they might live, they also memorialize His sacrificial death for them every day of their lives in the way they live them. They do this because they know that they owe Him everything, since it was their sins that put Him on the cross. Because He died for them, they live for Him, and each one claims Him daily as “my Friend.”
MI AMIGO
Mi AMIGO
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“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ” (Romans 5:6-8).
Lt. John Kreigshauser was at the controls of his crippled American B- 17 on February 22, 1944 and striving with all the skill at his command to get it safely back to England. Dubbed the “Mi Amigo,” meaning “my friend” in Spanish, the WWII bomber was carrying ten American airmen, and had been badly shot up on its mission to bomb a German airfield in Nazi- occupied Denmark. It had already jettisoned its 4,000-pound payload of bombs in the North Sea, but the plane’s failing engines told the pilots they were not going to be able to make it to their landing strip. Then, as hope began to fade, the pilots spotted a park in Sheffield, England, where they might be able to make a crash landing. However, just as they approached, they saw a group of young boys playing exactly where they needed to land. One of those boys was eight-year-old Tony Foulds. As Tony tells the story, he saw the pilots waving their hands, a p p a r e n t l y trying to signal to the boys to get out of the way, but it was too late. Rather, than risk killing the boys, the pilots flew on and crashed into a nearby hill. All those on board died. Seventy-five years later, a memorial stone with a plaque, surrounded by ten oak trees, marks the crash site and, since 1969, a service has been conducted there on the anniversary of the crash. On the seventh-fifth anniversary, American planes will conduct a memorial flyover of the site. Tony Foulds, now in his eighties, all these years later still experiences pangs of grief and guilt, as he contemplates even his indirect responsibility for the deaths of these
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ten men. He is convinced that they died to save his life, or, as he himself, puts it, “It’s me that killed them.” He visits the site almost daily to weep over, speak to, and remember the dead airmen who, though strangers, gave their lives for him. This moving story is reminiscent of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. Yet, Christ’s sacrifice is greater for several reasons. First , it was Christ, the very Son of God, who died, and not a human who died for humans. Second , Christ died, not for innocent children, and not just for those who never knew Him, but for those who were actually hostile to Him in their sins. Indeed, most of those for whom He died never appreciate, recall, or respond to the sacrifice He made for them. Third , the sacrifice of Christ holds such potential value that it is sufficient to save, not just a few boys, but the whole world (1 John 2:2). Fourth , Christ died, not just to extend people’s earthly lives, but to give them an eternity with God in heaven (1 Peter 3:18). T h e only tree remembered in c o n n e c t i o n with Jesus’ death is the one on which He died, the only stone the one which the angel rolled away from His tomb to signify His resurrection, and the only memorial the one which His disciples observe every Sunday in the Lord’s Supper. Yet, because they know that He died that they might live, they also memorialize His sacrificial death for them every day of their lives in the way they live them. They do this because they know that they owe Him everything, since it was their sins that put Him on the cross. Because He died for them, they live for Him, and each one claims Him daily as “my Friend.”
MI AMIGO