Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

In Honor of Memorial Day . . . and Paul Martin Wehlan

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 29 May 2010



The memory of the righteous will be a blessing
~Proverbs 10:7

This is a rather famous photo taken during World War II in Sicily (1943). An Army medic is administering blood plasma to a soldier (Paul M. Wehlan) who later died as the result of his injuries.

The photo has been in the archives of the American Red Cross for decades. It appeared in the Chicago Tribune three days prior to the U.S. Army's official visit to my Grandparents' home to inform them of their son's death.

My grandparents (and my mother -- then age 12) were convinced the moment they saw the photo in the newspaper that it was their Paulie. It wasn't until some fifty years later that my mother was able to establish for absolute certainty that the dying soldier was her brother.

We discovered the photo on the Internet in 1993 and contacted the Red Cross. We were able to obtain the names of both the Army medic and the photographer. The medic confirmed that the soldier was indeed PAUL MARTIN WEHLAN. The photographer was deceased, but we spoke to his son.

As I understand the further unfolding of this story, my uncle Paulie had written many letters home explaining to his momma that he was ready to meet Jesus; and that he knew in his heart he would not be coming home again to his family. These letter were -- of course -- received months after his death.

Following the war, a fellow-soldier contacted my grandparents to share with them that Paulie had taken his place on the "front line." Paulie's selfless act had cost him his life. The man whose place Paulie took that day -- June 28, 1943 -- was not a Christian. He was not ready to meet Jesus. My grandparents lost touch with the young man, but continued for years to pray for his salvation.

THANK YOU, Uncle Paulie for giving your life for our GREAT COUNTRY -- and sparing the life of a friend who had not yet met the LORD. May we never forget the sacrifice of your generation and so many generations who have followed.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
~Psalm 33:12


Michelle said...

That was a very moving post, EstherMay. Thank you for sharing that.

Betsy Markman said...

Wow, what an incredible legacy!

Amy Guerino said...

What a beautiful story and such a gem to have as a part of your family. It reminds me of Jim Elliot and his comrades who knew they were ready to meet the Lord but the natives they met was not and therefore, they were unwilling to fight even in self-defense. What an eternal perspective to have....and missions hasn't been the same as a result.

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Joan Carr said...

Amazing heritage and legacy.

智宜 said...

nice job! waiting for your new artical. .................................................................

LisaShaw said...

I'm honored to read this powerful tribute to your Uncle. I appreciate him and the sacrifice that he gave and all the more that he gave it that someone else could also come to know Jesus before his time came!

Powerful and tender!

Blessings to you my friend!

LisaShaw said...

Praying all is well with you and your family!!!

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