An Irish Soldier's Sacrifice

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In a cemetery on the Aisne River, in France, is the grave of a soldier. It is marked only by a rude cross, with no name; but it has upon it an inscription that arrests the attention of the passer-by.
During the World War, this unknown soldier was a private of the Royal Irish Guards. A corporal of the West Yorkshire Regiment, who was in a hospital at Woolrich, told the story of the unknown hero who was buried with full military honors, his fellow-soldiers erecting the cross over his grave, and inscribing upon it the words—"He saved others; himself he could not save."
The corporal's story was that a detachment was sent to occupy a village near Rheims. As the corporal and his comrades passed down a narrow street and emerged into the open, a man in khaki ran out of a building shouting a warning. Immediately the crack of rifles rang out; the man fell dead. Running for cover, the West Yorkshire men fought and ultimately drove out the German soldiers. The story of the unknown soldier was then learned.
He had been taken prisoner by the Germans. Learning that an ambush had been set for the West Yorkshire men, the Irish soldier escaped in time to warn his on-coming comrades and save them from annihilation.
He could not be identified, as the Germans had removed his identification disk; hence the only words upon the cross which marked his grave were: "He saved others; himself he could not save."
The Irish soldier gave his life to save his fellows.
Can they ever forget it? "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
And can we ever forget the still more wonderful self-sacrificing love of the Savior? He could have delivered Himself from His captors; for twelve legions of angels were at hand to do His bidding. But He came into the world to die—to give His life for others. To be the Savior of the world, nothing could deter Him from the path of devotion to His Father's will. Had He saved Himself from the bitterness of that awful hour when, as the divinely appointed Lamb of God, He gave Himself on the cross for us, salvation could never have been offered to you and me.
Friend, in His deep, eternal love He gave Himself! He died that we might live. He bore the wrath of God to bring us into His full, unclouded favor. He saved others; BUT
"Himself He could not save,
Love's stream too deeply flowed;
In love Himself He gave,
To pay the debt we owed.
Obedience to His Father's will
And love to us—did all fulfill."