Someone could spend a year writing a novel to illustrate the life lesson that was encapsulated in an extraordinary obituary in The Times this week. The subject was one Tom Tate, who died at the age of 98 on 19th January.
Back in 1945, he and the rest of the crew baled out of a stricken bomber and landed near a village that had been destroyed in another raid the week before. Tate was one of two members of the crew who escaped being lynched by angry civilian mobs. He vowed never to return to Germany, but did so just after the war to testify in the war crimes trial of those who had murdered his crewmates.
Living out the rest of his life quietly in Buckinghamshire he many years later happened on an article in a magazine he was throwing out, unread. “The village that asked for forgiveness”. You can read the rest of this inspiring story at The Forgiveness Project but, suffice to say, Mr Tate made many close friendships with the Germans in that same village from which he’d fled decades earlier. He returned there every year thereafter, his former anger now entirely replaced by hope.