The Angels of Woolrich

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Greater love has no one than this, 
that one lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

The last public images of Drummer Lee Rigby alive show him ordering take-out at one of his favorite haunts.

Two days later, he lay in a pool of blood on a London street, butchered by two men with a knife and a meat cleaver. He was wearing the same hoodie he’d worn at the pizza shop, the one that proclaimed “Help for Heroes.”

The 25-year-old from Manchester was part of the 2nd Batallion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the father of a two-year-old son. He served with distinction in Cyprus, Germany, and Afghanistan before working in the recruiting office in London, England.

As he lay dying, a mother and daughter drove by and saw the gruesome scene. It occurred to Amanda Donnelly that the body in the street could have been her daughter, 20 year-old Gemini Donnelly-Martin. Her heart went out to him. She just had to help the young man.

They stopped their car and approached the attackers, one of whom was still holding a weapon in his bloody hands. They asked to be at Rigby’s side. Surprisingly, the killer consented.

Amanda stood guard as her daughter Gemini knelt at his side. Ignoring his massive wounds, she shielded him and prayed until the police arrived.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett was also at the scene. A Cub Scout leader and mother of two, she was concerned the men would attack nearby children. She approached one of them and began talking to him in the hopes she could divert his attention until the authorities came. According to the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail report, she decided if anyone else was going to be hurt, it would be better if it was her than a child. The attacker told Loyau-Kennett he wanted to start a war in London. To this she replied, “You’re going to lose.”

In the days since the brutal attack, these three women have been called the “Angels of Woolwich.” All three reject any references to heroism, sure that they were only doing what needed to be done.

Their courage reminds us, on this Memorial weekend, that battle comes in many forms. We are all warriors in one way or another in the fight against evil. Lee Rigby’s murder has drawn world attention to the value of each soldier’s life and to the brutality of war. It has also shown us how important each of us are in this struggle to support and pray for one another, and to confront evil wherever it appears.

Special thanks to our soldiers around the world who must place their lives on the line for us every day. Thanks to those who pray for them, comfort them, and honor their memory.

What a lesson for us who struggle against the forces of evil in heavenly places! What courage it takes to stand against the oppressor, to lay our own lives on the line to care for the wounded! How can we drive by another body in the street without at least a prayer?

No soldier should die alone. No one, ever, should suffer without someone to fight for them. Confront the oppressor. Protect the innocent.

Be an angel to someone today.

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About PamThorson

Pam is a licensed practical nurse, author, and caregiver. Her first book, Song in the Night, recounts her son's fight for life after a spinal cord injury. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, offers hope and encouragement to those who care for others. Her third book, Arrow: the History and People of an Idaho Community, Volume One, presents the history of the community of Arrow, Idaho.

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