Categorized | Opinion

The Ordinariness of Good

Posted on 03 December 2015 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

In the wake of the evil that occurred this week in San Bernardino and the evil that occurred last month in Paris and the evil that is going on in Syria, Iraq and various other places in the Middle East, we would like to share a story of simple goodness.

Roddie Edmonds was a thoroughly ordinary American. Born and raised in Kentucky, Edmonds joined the Army just before World War II. By December 1944 he was a Master Sergeant not too shabby but really nothing special.

He had the bad luck to be captured in the Battle of the Bulge now 70 years ago and became the highest ranking non-commissioned American officer in a German POW Camp.

Edmonds found himself in charge of about 1,000 other American Prisoners of a War which by early 1945 was pretty much over. Really all Edmonds had to do was keep his head down for a couple of months and wait either for liberation or surrender.

One thing thought about a quarter of Edmonds new charges were Jews and the Germans wanted them. The Germans didn’t say out right what they wanted to do with those Jewish American soldiers but hey it was 1945 the death camps had already been captured and the holocaust had been mostly revealed.

So when the Germans ordered that all Jewish soldiers to fall out, Edmonds ordered everyone to fall out.

They can’t all be Jews, said the commandant to Edmonds

We are all Jews said Edmonds to the commandant

The commandant pulled out his Luger pointed at Edmonds head  and demanded the American Jews.

Edmonds told him essentially to get stuffed and that commandant would have to shoot everyone and then be probably executed for war crimes by the soon to be victorious allies.

The kraut backed down and Edmonds saved the lives of 250 men.

A hundred days later Edmonds and his men were liberated. He went back to the Army and then back home, married had kids and lead a perfectly normal quiet life. He never sought recognition for his actions. He didn’t even tell his own family. But after he died in 1985 his son was contacted now and again by those aging Jewish G.I.’s who owed their lives to one stubborn nondescript Sergeant who refused to give into evil.

Wednesday Edmonds was named a Righteous Gentile by the State of Israel.

As the photos of yesterday’s killers get published they will appear to be as completely normal as Roddie Edmonds.

It is often remarked that evil often appears so average so normal. While true it is also important to remember that good is just as average, just as boring.

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