In 1965, Captain Dieter Dengler flew over Laos in a classified mission for the U.S. military. He was shot down and taken captive in a secluded prisoner of war camp. As a detainee, Captain Dengler was subjected to intense interrogation and torture. His true story is retold in the 2007 film Rescue Dawn. Christian Bale (of Batman fame) played the lead role.
After some time as a prisoner, Captain Dengler made plans to escape. He understood that he would be risking his life, but he had no plans to die in the P.O.W. camp. He led a small band of prisoners to overtake the guards and escape into the jungle. After weeks on the run, he was picked up by a helicopter behind enemy lines by servicemen who risked their own lives to save him, and flown back to a military hospital for treatment of his injuries and a debriefing by the C.I.A.
It was while he was there that Captain Dengler’s military buddies left their aircraft carrier, arriving at the hospital via helicopter. They pretended to be there in celebration of his birthday, but their real mission was to kidnap him from the C.I.A., return him to his ship and reunite him with his troops.
The most amazing part of the film is when they landed on the deck of a huge aircraft carrier. The empty deck lowered to reveal the belly of the ship, filled with thousands of cheering service men and women awaiting the arrival of their hero. Good luck trying to get through that scene without shedding any tears.
The next time, you’re not sure anybody appreciates what you’ve done…the next time that you’re not sure that you can make it even one more day … remember what the writer of Hebrews says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses … consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Can you hear the crowd? Can you see it? Look up … the finish line is just ahead! You can make it!
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)