Ettie Newlands

Whoever compiled this information obviously wanted it to be passed on.

So, with gratitude to MaryLou for sharing it with me, I share it with you.

It tells me we can never assume to know what’s in someone else’s heart or mind.

Every Friday, in a sleepy little Florida community, old Ed walked to the end of the pier. He held a bucket filled with shrimp, and he threw the fish to dozens of seagulls who also showed up regularly on these Fridays.

No one knew why, as Ed threw the food to the gulls, he whispered, “Thank you” repeatedly.

Old Ed was Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, famous World War l hero who also served in World War ll.

On one of his missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. They all survived, crawled out of the plane and climbed onto a life raft.

Rickenbacker and the crew floated for days, fighting the sun, fighting sharks.

On the eighth day, their food and water ran out and they started fighting hunger and thirst as well.

Hundreds of miles from land, nobody knew where – or if – they were.

The men prayed together, asking God for a miracle.

While he was trying to sleep, Rickenbacker heard and felt a thud, and it was a seagull that landed on his cap.

The eight men made a very skimpy meal of the bird Rickenbacker strangled, and used its intestines for bait to catch more food.

The men were rescued after 24 grueling days on a raft in the Pacific Ocean.

Rickenbacker lived many years after that experience, but never forgot that one seagull saved the lives of eight men. And so, once a week, he in turn fed the seagulls.

Captain Rickenbacker was the founder of Eastern Airlines. He’d been a race car driver.

In World War l he was America’s first “ace pilot.” He was an instructor and military advisor in World War ll, flying missions with combat pilots.

Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was an American hero.

But to the folks who didn’t know that, he just looked like an old geezer feeding the birds.

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