Today is the day that we remember those who fought for the freedom that we enjoy today. We remember those who lived and those who died, for all sacrificed themselves in the noblest, highest, most selfless form. The memorial poppy pictured above honours one such man.
Corporal Robert Middaugh was a tail gunner in an RCAF Pratt-Whitney bomber that had flown a successful mission and was returning to England when it was jumped by German fighter planes. In the running firefight that weaved through the air over the English Channel, his plane was shot up and was no longer able to fly. As young Robert prepared himself to die, the turret he was trapped in afforded him a view of the hard ground rising swiftly to meet him. Then, something unexpected happened.
The turret rotated, and several hundred feet above the ground, Corporal Middaugh fell out of the aircraft. In an event that he always looked upon as divine intervention, he landed in a farmer’s field, in a large but softer hay stack. The plane crashed about 400 yards away. Most of the crew who had remained in the plane were killed on impact, and one other died later of the burns and wounds he had received.
Corporal Middaugh was not unscathed. His back was broken, along with other unspecified but life-threatening injuries. The men who saw him fall out of the plane ran to assist, and even when the medics reached the scene, Robert was not expected to live. In later years, Robert would recount to his own grandson how it was drizzling rain, and the men held a newspaper over his head while he had what he thought would be his last cigarette. Mercifully, shortly after a few drags on that dart, Robert lost consciousness.
Later, when he woke in hospital, he learned that he was the sole survivor of the mission. Robert eventually recovered, was promoted to Sargent, and received a medical discharge because of his injuries. He was sent home to Canada to complete his recovery and military service. Once there, he met a young WAC Sargent, a cipher clerk named Mary Fedorchuck. The two fell in love, married, and had one child, a daughter.
I do know more details of the story and what happened in that family. Corporal Robert Middaugh was my grandfather. When he told me this story, I could tell he was convinced that God Himself allowed him to live that day. He had no miraculous supernatural visions, he did not hear a voice no one else could hear, he did not visit heaven as others have claimed. He just knew. And dear friends, I asked him why he went to war. Why would he risk his own life on behalf of anyone else? He gave a very simple answer. Someone had to stop the madness of the enemy. Someone had to stop the creeping evil. And if not him, then who?
Today, it reminds me of another soldier that fought in another war. This war began at the beginning of time when our first parents disobeyed God and became casualties of the enemy and his weapon called sin. God saw that man would ever be the victim of this weapon, that man would never be able to free himself from the captivity of his own sinful desires, and so sent His own Son into the world to fight and to die in that war. When His Son died, Scripture tells us that He died to provide one sacrifice that would cleanse for all time those who would turn to Him. Dear friends, that one is Jesus, the holy Christ of God. He Himself laid down His own life as a perfect sacrifice to pay for our own personal sins, and His sacrifice stands to pay for the sins of any who will turn to Him and repent of their sins and truly believe in Him.
May you all have a blessed Remembrance Day 2019 and find salvation in Christ.