Ready or Not #255: Being Forewarned

I was listening to a Gospel Doctrine class the other day and the instructor noted that a group of religious settlers were being forced to leave their homes by angry mobs in the middle of the winter.   People were literally running for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Fortunately some of those that were forced to leave were able to grab some blankets, clothing, food and cooking implements and were able to help others around them in their desperate situation.

As I was pondering the struggles that these people were being forced to endure, I thought to myself that they were really lucky that some of their group had grabbed some stuff on the way out the door.  And then it struck me that those few people had brought their 72 hr. kits!  Literally.

Their 72 hr. hits may have been crudely assembled and they certainly didn’t have access to all of the convenience items we have, but because of those few prepared people, many were helped.

Because of the political and religious climate of that time, and previous experiences, these people knew that there was a possibility of violence and so some of them prepared for the possibility.  Others did not.

In my little corner of the world, I don’t have to worry about unruly mobs making me vacate in the middle of the night and run for my life, but there are some places in the world where that threat does exist.

I was born while my father served in the military in Germany.  It was at the time that Khrushchev was throwing a bunch of temper tantrums and kept threatening war.  My father was stationed at the Fulda Gap as one of the “mow-overs.”  They were affectionately called that because they were standing on the border with their rifles facing the potential enemy’s tanks.  If war had been declared, my father, with the other men assigned at the border crossing, were supposed to slow the tanks down for at least 15 minutes so that American troops could be activated.  It was kind of like bringing a knife (the rifle being just as effective) to a tank fight.

My dad, my mom, and I lived in an apartment close to the army base.  My mom and I were required to be ready at a moment’s notice to pick up and walk out of Germany.  Being that I was only a month or two old at the time, that meant that my mother would have to carry me out of Germany.  Eight, nine or 15 pounds can get really heavy especially if it is squirmy baby that is tired of being carried.   Something to think about.

The Army required that my mom have a suitcase packed and sitting next to the front door at all times.  They also gave her a list of the things that she was allowed to pack.  Because she had a small baby (me), most of the available packing space had to revolve around taking care of me (diapers, blankets, condensed milk, etc.  Just a quick note: – the world always has, and should, revolve around ME.)  My mom was only allowed to take a change of undergarments and another set of clothes.  Period.

The military was so emphatic about the preparations that they had constant spot inspections and if the suitcase wasn’t by the front door, completely ready with only the required items, then my father would have been disciplined and would have spent a couple of days in the military jail.

They told my mother that if she heard the emergency siren that she was to immediately grab me, the suitcase and to start walking to Switzerland.  They would “try” to send a transport truck to pick up the military family refugees, but they wouldn’t promise anything… just keep walking – hopefully to safety.  Times were stressful.

The religious refugees had forewarning.  My mom and dad (and me) had forewarning.  You have forewarning.  So now, what are you going to do about it?

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