The Ones Who Didn't Make It

On September 6, 1965, Admiral James Stockdale’s A-4 Skyhawk was shot down over Viet Nam. The injured Stockdale found himself captured and imprisoned in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”, where he was a prisoner of war for over seven years. He was the highest ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in the Viet Nam war.

Stockdale was kept in solitary confinement for four years, placed in irons for two years, denied medical care and malnourished. Despite these terrible conditions, he led an “underground resistance movement” which brought hope and a sense of esprit de corps to his fellow POW’s. Still, many prisoners died under these grueling circumstances. Finally, in 1973, the brave admiral was released, and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor is 1976 by President Ford.
Several years later, author and researcher, Jim Collins, interviewed Stockdale in the campus of Stanford University, and asked the decorated offer how he coped with the demoralizing effects of his imprisonment.

Stockdale replied, “I never lost faith in the end the end of the story. I never doubted that not only would I get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

Then, Collins asked, “Who didn’t make it out?”

"Oh, that’s easy,” Stockdale responded, “The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

Now, I certainly believe in optimism. The title of my newspaper column, “Positively Speaking”, speaks to that. However, I believe Stockdale was right.

A misplaced, short term optimism can lead to failure and disillusionment. It’ much better to focus on the long term.

Some day
Some way
I’m going to make it.

Things may not go as I’ve expected or desired, but I’m not going to let a few temporary setbacks keep me from my ultimate destiny. Rarely, does a person follow a straight path from success to success. Usually, there’s quite a winding road, replete with failures, frustrations, shortcomings, and disappointments.

The important thing is to keep plugging on, regardless of the short term circumstance. Eventually, you’ll find your way.

Success is getting up one more time than you fall down.


Anonymous said…
Hello to every one and may God bless you today. I come to you to ask if you will help in sharing the vision that God has given me. I will try to make this short . If you will, please read all of this bulletin so you will understand what God is leading me to do. First of all I am the Pastor of Tree of Life Ministries and I have been in the ministry for 10 yrs. God has lead me from Pastoring a Baptist Church of about 60 people to Establishing a ministering Church of 10 to help the needy, fatherless, widows, and our missionaries. I AM NOT ASKING YOU FOR MONEY, but I am asking you to help us help others and I will tell you how you can do that.
" It is very simple"
I have created web sites of many interest, Fishing, Golf, Nascar, Pets, Etc. and I will continue creating them with other interest. I am working on a Christian site as we speak. How I am asking you to help is to go to my sites that I have created and browse the pages. When you go to my sites, browse on the blue box ads and that will help with Gods vision of helping others.
Here is my web sites

Home Page:

I also want our young people "and every on else" to realize that being a Christian is exciting. You can be a Christian and enjoy this life also.

( l Timothy 6:17-18) says that God is the one who giveth us richely all things to enjoy. As you see on my profile when God gives you things of material that we are to use them for his glory. ( l Cor 10:31).

This is the help that I am asking you for. You can help Tree of Life Ministries help others while you keep your Tithes and Offering to your local church or ministry.

If you will, help spread the word and pass this bulletin on to all your friends, family and Brother and Sisters in Christ.

Thank You and God Bless Your efforts

Tree of Life Ministries
Pastor, Scotty Thomas

P.S. I will ad more info and pictures about Tree of Life Ministries later as we get more astablished in our building. We expect to be in or church building mid Janurary 2009.

Popular posts from this blog

Great Computer Cookies

Shepherds and Wise Men Both Made it to Bethlehem