Bear The Stretcher: 3 Reasons You Should Help The Wounded.

I gave my second speech at Leeds City Toastmasters in August 2012. The speech, entitled “That’s Something to Remember,” was predicated on the UK Armed Forces Day in June.

I had earlier in the day taken a virtual tour of the National Arboretum – a 150-acre of wooded parkland in Staffordshire. It’s artistic and beautifully designed memorials made it easy for me to learn and reflect. It’s a center of remembrance; a special place that remembers Servicemen who had served, and who still serve, the UK in many ways.

Just three months earlier while receiving the award for distinguished humanitarian leadership, Prince Harry made an incredibly sobering statement:

“So many of our Servicemen and women have made the ultimate sacrifice; so many lives have been lost and so many changed forever by the wounds that they have suffered in the course of their duties. For these selfless people, it is after the guns have fallen silent, the din of battle quietened, that the real fight begins – a fight that may last for the rest of their lives.”

Wounds and Injuries are inevitable in life.

Soldiers who don’t get wounded are those who don’t go to battle. They lazy on in the officers’ mess. Athletes who don’t get injured are those who don’t get into the game. They recline on the bench. No soldier presents himself to his enemy, or invites his enemy to his camp, to be attacked. It’s as he gets busy in the line of duty – in the cross-fire – that he gets wounded. And because life is a fight, an unceasing fight, there are bound to be casualties. Wounds and injuries are inevitable in life. So “it is after the guns have fallen silent, the din of battle quietened, that the real fight begins – a fight that may last for the rest of their lives.”

Esprit de corps…

That’s a core philosophy in the military that underscores not just the cohesion of a unit or another military group, but also describes such values as honour and commitment in the service.

Esprit De Corps

Esprit De Corps

It epitomises pride for, devotion and loyalty to, other members of the service with which the soldiers fight and serve. That’s why it’s grave offence in the military to fight a soldier-colleague or to pass up a wounded colleague.

I believe we all should adopt this military philosophy as a guiding principle in life. We should bear the stretcher. Help the wounded. And never pass up a bleeding person. Around us. Or anywhere. Daily we see mighty host advancing. Fierce and long the battle rages. Now and then we see ‘soldiers’ fall by. Battle-weary. Courage almost gone. It’s your sacred duty to cheer your comrades. To tell them, ‘Hold the fort.’ That reinforcement will soon appear. That victory is nigh.

It’s against esprit de corps when you break off a bent reed. When you put out a dying flame. Instead, you should encourage the fainthearted. Those who despair. Tell them, ‘Don’t tire out; don’t quit.’ You should bear the stretcher. Help the wounded. And never pass up a bleeding person. By doing that, you practice the service philosophy of esprit de corps.

Here are three reasons you should help the wounded:

(1) You Demonstrate You Value Their Lives.

A National newspaper will not use a banner headline for breaking news of a bird who got killed by teenage boy. But this morning the small passenger plane crash into a building at at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Nigeria, went viral. Why? Because of the value of human life.

Irrespective of tribe, race, nationality, socio-economic status, or accomplishment in life, there’s a music everyone of us dances to when it is played; cord that binds us together. It’s the cord of a shared humanity.

Every human person has feelings and emotions; feelings of love, care, empathy, and belonging. When you help a wounded person, you demonstrate your belief in a shared humanity.

Bear The Stretcher

Bear The Stretcher

I think we should re-examine the humanity of those who pass wounded people up. They may not be humans. They may be robots.

(2) You Believe Their Wounds Shall Heal.

You’re saying to the wounded, “I’m helping you battle back. You can bounce back.” You’re saying, “Hey, we fall, but we get up.” I have read about athletes who came back from very worse injuries to win medals because their coaches, or teammates, or families, or some other people helped them to recuperate. When you bear the stretcher, you support the wounded to reclaim their lives. You give them a chance to live again. You’re telling them that’s not the end of their lives. You’re telling them that they can bounce back.

(3) You Stockpile Healing For Your Wounds.

Since you don’t know what would happen to you throughout your life, by helping those who are wounded you store up healing for your yet-to-be-inflicted wounds from the enemy’s gunfire or from the cruel weapons of life. You secure help for yourself at the appropriate time of need in the future when you’d need it most. You don’t suddenly prepare for war when war breaks out. You prepare for war when there’s no war. 

Help The Wounded

Help The Wounded

Every time you help a wounded person, you’re accruing good deeds into an invisible trust fund. You’re making tangible deposits of goodwill into a tangible but unseen account. You’re building a trust fund with your name on it. None of those good deeds is put in a row marked Wasted. The Trustee, a shrewd business manager, guards and secures your investments, and posts every act of kindness to an invisible account that you’d draw from at a  time in the future.

From Jerusalem to Jericho…

I’ve read the following story repeatedly: As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side. A man from Samaria then came traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, “Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return.”

Wouldn’t you be a person who helps people up, rather than one who beats them up, or passess them up?

Help The Wounded

Help The Wounded

It takes love, courage, empathy, and sacrifice to help the wounded.

Esprit de corps!

Never pass up a fellow, wounded ‘soldier.’


Take These Action Steps:

(1) Write down 3 things you can do to help people you know have been wounded.

(2) Start doing them today. Don’t postpone.


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