For most of his life Winters just went about his business, an honorable man. Few people knew that he had played a role in some of the crucial battles of the war, including the D-Day fight and the Battle of the Bulge. His former soldiers knew of his heroics, but the wider world would never have known had it not been for Stephen Ambrose and his book. He would have been just another veteran. As I reflected on his passing it occurred to me that while Winters may have been one of the best soldiers this country produced in that conflict, there were literally millions of men in our armed forces who fought in World War II. Each did his little part for which there was little or no notice once their combat days were over. But the truth is the war could not have been won without them.
I’m glad that Richard Winters received some notice for what he did, though he remained humble about it to the end. He quoted one of his fellow soldiers who said, “I was not a hero. I was part of a company of heroes.” That was typical of the unassuming man that he was. So I think he was worthy of acclaim. His story reminds me that our story will be similar to his in a way. As each and every one of us faithfully and humbly goes about playing our part in God’s plan to save the world, small though it may seem to us, some day there will be acclaim for our service. In the presence of God our service will be noted and rewarded by our Lord. Romans 8:17 says we will actually share in His glory. So it doesn’t matter if the world doesn’t know or care what you do. God knows, and he cares. And some day he will make it known.