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Posts Tagged ‘World War II’

Eric Liddell
I caught a blurb the other day about The Flying Scotsman, Eric Liddell, the subject of the movie Chariots of Fire. Although I’ve never seen the movie in its entirety (full disclosure: I fell asleep when I tried to watch it 30 years ago), I have been aware for a long time of the amazing stand Eric Liddell took for the honor of the Lord when he refused to run his strongest event, the 100 meter race, in the 1924 Olympics. The race was scheduled to take place on a Sunday which conflicted with his Christian convictions about keeping the Sabbath Day holy.

As a young Christian 30 years ago, this impressed me; as an older Christian now, trying to understand the depths of Sabbath-keeping, I recognize an inner rudder that is missing for me regarding the Lord’s Day. Having grown up in America, Sabbath-keeping is not generally observed in our culture as a whole, nor is it taught or emphasized even in most of our churches. I decide weekly, it seems, if I am too busy to not do my bills on a Sunday or too inconvenienced on that day to avoid a trip to the store… and I haven’t even begun to wrestle with the implications of eating out each Sunday.  But Eric Liddell had made his Olympic decision years and years before the event, embracing his conviction of Sabbath-keeping as a natural outflow of his Christian beliefs.

So that’s what I knew about Eric Liddell; that and the fact that having refused to run his pet race, he ran the 400m race in which he was not favored to win. Against all predictions, though, Liddell won the 400m, explaining that he ran the first 200m as hard as he could, and then for the second 200m, “with God’s help, I [ran] harder.”

I knew all this about Eric Liddell as well as his famous quote: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. As it turns out, Liddell knew his God-given purpose and it did not ultimately take him to a race track. The blurb I heard the other day, alluded to the end of Liddell’s life and after doing a bit of on-line surfing, I found the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would have put it.

I found it on a fun, little, serendipitous site called: Today, I Found Out, subtitled, “Feed Your Brain.” An article written by Karl Smallwood titled, “The Heroic Death of Chariot’s of Fire’s Eric Liddell,” fills in some of the blanks of Liddell’s life after the Olympics. Most of what follows is gleaned and transcribed from his article.

Liddell was originally born in China to missionary parents. He eventually was reared and educated, though, in Scotland.  A year after his Olympic victory, Liddell went back to China to serve as a missionary himself. He began serving as a teacher (science and sports) in the college city of Tianjin (where he was born), but after being there for 12 years, he became an ordained minister and served as an evangelist and humanitarian in the Xiaozhang County. One might wonder if Liddell ever regretted giving up athletics at the peak of his career to become a missionary and humanitarian. Today it would mean giving up a life of fame and fortune in the form of sponsorships, coaching, and radio broadcasting. Eric Liddell’s answer reveals his eternal vision, “It’s natural for a chap to think over all that sometimes, but I’m glad I’m at the work I’m engaged in now. A fellow’s life counts for far more at this than the other.”

With the onset of WWII, the Japanese began their attack on China. Conditions became so dangerous that the British government advised their British citizens to leave the country. His pregnant wife and two daughters did leave the country, but Liddell stayed to work at a mission station setup to help the poor.

Eventually Tianjin fell under Japanese control and Liddell was sent to an internment camp in Weihsien in March of 1943. Though his situation was certainly dire, his spirit didn’t wane and while some people in the camp selfishly hoarded their supplies, Liddell spent his time teaching children and sharing what he had. When a few rich businessmen managed to convince the guards to smuggle them in extra rations, Liddell’s natural charisma was such that he was able to convince them to share the food with everyone, and he was the first port of call when any dispute in the camp needed to be settled.

Langdon Gilkey, a fellow prisoner with Liddell, later recalled, “Often in an evening I would see him bent over a chessboard or a model boat, or directing some sort of square dance – absorbed, weary and interested, pouring all of himself into this effort to capture the imagination of these penned-up youths. He was overflowing with good humor and love for life, and with enthusiasm and charm. It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint, but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.”

Smallwood goes on to show us further the kind of man we’re dealing with here, “If you’re not impressed yet with Liddell’s integrity.” While in the camp, Liddell was ravaged by malnourishment and ill health. (It was later found that he had a brain tumor, but he knew nothing of this.) Despite this, when Winston Churchill managed to secure Liddell’s freedom in a prisoner exchange, Liddell declined and instead offered his place to a pregnant woman who was also in the camp, saving not only her life but her unborn child as well. Besides his declining health, this must have been a particularly difficult decision given that he had a wife and three daughters he hadn’t seen in well over a year; one of them, Maureen, he never got a chance to know. Much like most of his life’s work, he didn’t do this for any sort of fame or recognition. In fact, he didn’t even mention this fact to his family in subsequent letters. In his last letter to his wife as his health deteriorated, he simply mentioned that he thought he was perhaps overworked.

On the 21st of February 1945, just a few months before the camp was liberated, Liddell died. According to a fellow missionary, Liddell’s last words were, “It’s complete surrender,” in reference to how he had given his life to his God. In his book, Don’t Waste Your Life, Pastor John Piper says, “All heroes are shadows of Christ.” How beautifully we recognize this in the life of Eric Liddell (1902 – 1945).

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Richard Dick Young obit

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good…” (Luke 6:45).

On November 23, 2013, the world lost a dear soul when Dana’s uncle Richard “Dick” Young was translated from this life to his heavenly eternal home.  What a day of celebration we had as we rejoiced to know Uncle Dick was in the very presence of the Father he’d never set eyes upon, but loved so very much.

Many, many stories of this good man were related that day resulting in a wonderful composite of a man who loved and served his family and his fellowmen.  Uncle Dick was a hard-working and gifted metal engineer.  He loved music and had an evangelistic heart for the lost, working with both Child Evangelism Fellowship and the Gideons.  He served his country in two wars—Korea and on the front lines in World War II.  He was a man resistant to personal pride who directed any praise he received back to his Creator.  He was also a man of prayer and devotion who rarely failed to turn a conversation toward the Lover of his soul.  

Truly, I need more, not less, godly, good influences in my life.  Uncle Dick will be missed by many for a while until our great reunion.  There was one phrase shared at his funeral that summed up this noble life and allowed us to grieve, but not as others who have no hope.  It was the reminder that Uncle Dick had waited his whole life for that day.  What a pleasure it must be to finally arrive home after so many years of sojourning in foreign lands.  No wonder “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
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Richard “Dick” Emory Young, 94, Grand Forks, ND, on November 23, 2013, went to his heavenly eternal home to be with his precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in Valley 4000 Memorial Homes, Grand Forks. Dick was born on September 27, 1919 on a farm near Montrose, Minnesota about 30 miles west of Minneapolis, to Herbert and Alta (Volkenant) Young.

He moved with his family to Anoka, Minnesota at about age 5 and later moved to Grand Forks in 1936. Dick graduated from Central High School, Grand Forks in 1938 and soon afterwards, moved to Moorhead, Minnesota where he took a position in a machine shop. Dick’s love of working with metal began at age 17 when he started to build a train and tracks.

A mutual acquaintance introduced Dick to DeLoris (Butenhoff), where she worked as a waitress at the Bluebird Cafe, in April 1941 and they were married October 26, 1941 in Sabin Minnesota. Dick and Dee moved three times during the first months of marriage. One move was caused because they were living in a house owned by some German people, and they were being “spied” upon, which made it uncomfortable for Dick and Dee, since they, too, were of German decent.

The war was in its beginning stages, and Dick was deferred to work in a defense plant in Minneapolis, so a move there was made in 1942. Minneapolis Moline was Dick’s place of employment until the spring of 1944, when he entered the U.S. Army at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Daughter, Judith (Judy) was born in 1943 while they lived in Minneapolis. After Dick entered the service, Dee moved to Grand Forks along with Judy to live with her in-laws, a common practice during war time. Richard C. (Dick, Jr.) was born in Grand Forks in 1945. Dick received the news of his new son while loading ammunition at the front lines, about two months after his birth. Dick first saw his son when he was one year and five days old.

After the war, Dick returned to Minneapolis to reclaim his job and when it didn’t work out, he moved the family back to Grand Forks. The large house owned by Dick’s parents was remodeled into a duplex and became the family home until 1963. When son, David was born in 1958, Dick and Dee bought the house next door to the duplex and a complete remodel was done, including a new basement. The dirt under the old house was dug out using a home-made tractor and large scoop to prepare the house to be raised and lowered on the new basement walls. They moved into the basement in 1963 and lived there for two and one half years while the rest of the remodeling was completed by Dick with the help of his father after regular working hours for both of them. That house is now owned by daughter Judy and husband Michael.

One of Dick’s hobbies was occasionally playing an accordion he brought back from the war, obtained by a foot soldier who gave it to Dick. Music always played a huge part of his life – whether it was playing the piano or church organ or vocal music, sometimes singing duets with his daughter, Judy and singing in church choir. Many times Dick, his two brothers and their father gathered in quartet fashion around the piano as his mother played Gospel hymns.

During the post-war years, Dick was involved in machine shop work in various capacities. After the war, Dick and brothers Franklin and Roland opened their own repair business. Then, in 1950, both Dick and Roland were called into the Korean Conflict and the shop was closed. Dick and family moved to Ft. Lewis, Washington from 1950-1951 before Dick went to Korea. After his discharge from the Army, a second time, Dick worked for a short time at Butler Machine and also was a lab technician and instructor in the machine shop at the University of N.D. Between the years 1954 and 1966, Dick was associated with ARCO MFG., Potato Research Lab at UND and was Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds for GF Public Schools. Then, in 1966, Dick and his brother, Roland bought a building on 42nd St. North, off the beaten path, and began working towards what is now Young Mfg., Inc.

Dick’s love for music and the purchase of a theater style organ and a concert grand piano and Dee’s desire for a home built all on one floor encouraged a move to 17th Ave. South in 1979. In 1989, due to Dee’s health, they moved into a rented patio home until they decided they weren’t quite ready for condo living just yet since they both had hobbies and interests that warranted having a larger home. In their 49th year of marriage, they moved to a house on Walnut St. After the flood of 1997, Dee moved into assisted living when they sold that home. Dick lived near her in the same independent living complex. DeLoris passed away on January 12, 2004. Dick and DeLoris were long time members at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Bethel Lutheran Church – both in Grand Forks.

Dick’s love for the Lord Jesus Christ moved him to work with various ministries over his lifetime. He was called into the Gideon Bible-placing ministry for many years. He spoke in a number of area churches bringing news of the Gideon organization and the stories of various people who found the Lord Jesus after reading a Bible that was placed by the Gideon’s in motel/hotel rooms. Every fall, for many years, he would be handing out small New Testament Bibles to children and college students as they went to their classes. The teams of men would find their way back to the Young Mfg. board room and have a time of fellowship and coffee and donuts, often telling stories of how their Bible-gifting went.

He has also had a personal and monetary interest in the local ministry of a worldwide interdenominational organization called Child Evangelism Fellowship. CEF’s purpose is to make the Gospel known to children who might not hear it, if they are not churchgoers, by offering 5-Day Clubs in the summer months where children meet in neighborhood settings, and Good News Clubs held in school after school hours, where CEF workers sing with the children, tell them Bible Stories and offer treats.

The rescue mission, now known as Northlands Rescue Mission was something dear to Dick’s heart. He worked with Rev. Trankina before the mission moved to its present location – where the original Immanuel Lutheran Church building (then used as a Mission Thrift Store) stood before the 1997 flood. Dick found time to work as chairman of the board for four years, to establish the OPPORTUNITY TRAINING CENTER in Grand Forks. In March, 1972, he submitted an article to the Reader’s Digest (never published though), recounting the implementation of committees, building renovation of an old church auditorium used for a general shop area, hiring staff, including retired Air Force personnel, instructors, and on to the graduation of the first students.

When Dick and Roland opened shop in a new location in 1966, it was called Young Tool & Die Works. One of their first customers requested they make hair styling metal combs. A long time customer is Arctic Cat Snowmobile Company, now known as Arctic Enterprises. Young Mfg. made thousands of metal cleats for the snowmobiles in the early years of the company.

Even when Dick was no longer involved in management at Young Manufacturing, he would climb a flight of steps to his second floor office and write letters and poetry. Every year he would compose a Christmas poem to send with his annual letter to family and friends. Dick told someone once, “My mother was a poet”. He also wrote of his WW II memories.

Dick was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, brother Franklin, daughter-in-law Lorna (Zenner) Young, sister Vera Soberg, and her husband Lester Soberg, sister-in-law Lois McIntyre Weston (Roland) Young. Surivors include: daughter, Judy (Michael) McNamee, Grand Forks; sons Richard, (Lorna, deceased), Fergus Falls, MN; David (Beth), Thompson, N.D.; grandchildren, Jeff (Cyndi) Young, Scott (Katrina) McNamee, Daniel (Patricia) McNamee, Brian (Noemi) Young, Paul (Amy Jo) McNamee, Shelly (Tim) Cullen, Kirsten (Paul) Dionne, Jennifer (Thomas) Grandouiller; and great-grandchildren; Rachael, Megan, Arielle, Tyler, Declan, Alexis, Amber, Emma, Isaac, Calder, Abigail, Elizabeth, Kieran, Monique, Tanner, Savannah, Caleb, Trinity, Matias; brother Roland, and sister-in-law Vera (Franklin) Young; also many nephews and nieces.

Services: will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 in Faith Evangelical Free Church, 1400 24th Ave. S., Grand Forks. Visitation will continue for one hour before the service, in the church. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery of Grand Forks.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Child Evangelism Fellowship, PO Box 13834,Grand Forks, ND 58203-3834; Gideon’s International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214; or Northlands Rescue Mission, 420 Division Ave., Grand Forks, ND 58201. Please fell free to leave any testimonials in Dick’s online guestbook.

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