An amazing story of SEALS and Wild Boars

I dare say never has the world been so captivated by a sounder of wild boars than it has in the past three weeks.

Only moments ago, as The Anchor was putting on the finishing touches for this edition before going to press in a few hours, word came in of the rescue of all 12 young Thai soccer players and their coach from the depths of a dark, dank, dangerous cave carved into the mountains of northern Thailand.

For 17 grueling days, the 13 “Wild Boars,” the name of the soccer team on which they played, waited and wondered what the future held for them — if anything at all.

It was 10 days before they were even found in a small opening, trapped by flooding rain waters.

There are so many storylines to this remarkable event that captured the attention and hearts of the entire world.

Nations put aside their political differences and sent their finest divers, many Navy SEALS, to the site to assist in any way possible. Surely God was smiling down on the scenario of mankind helping mankind.

This still unfolding story is one of extreme courage — the courage of young boys ages 11 to 16, who held it together for nearly three weeks in circumstances mostly none of us will ever face.

It’s a story of heroism — so many of those to go around. First there is the coach, Ekapol Chantawong or “Ake” as he is affectionately known, who still may face charges from the police.

Ake is a former Buddhist monk who had already cheated death when, as a boy, a devastating epidemic wiped out nearly all of his village, including his parents. He was deeply affected by this and was sent to live with the monks where he learned to meditate — quieting his mind and his body.

It was this experience that he most assuredly shared with the boys to keep them calm and hopeful.

It was more than a week before fresh oxygen, food and fresh water made its way to the group of boars.

Throughout this entire three-week ordeal, I tried to imagine myself in those circumstances, and quite frankly, I couldn’t. I don’t think I would have survived.

For more than 400 hours, or more than 24,000 minutes, the trapped victims physically endured hunger, thirst, coldness, dampness, odors, and elements I can’t even imagine. But psychologically it was 24,000 minutes of wondering, worrying, and uncertainty. Such courage.

The other heroes are the people who put their lives on the line to find the boars and get them out safely.

For them, each minute was a perilous one. And prayers go out to former Thai SEAL, Saman Kunan, who lost his life trying to save others.

And the families of all involved experienced an ordeal that tested the limit of human endurance, but also brought the world together for the last three weeks.

I would suspect that none of the individuals involved in this amazing story share our religious beliefs, but one can’t help but see the hand of God having a part in such a remarkable outcome.

As I finish up this column, word just came in that all the SEALS are out as well. 

I usually check the sports scores each morning, but for the last few weeks, I’ve been keeping track of the real world in Thailand. And this morning the score reads everyone wins!

God bless all who took part in the historic event. No fake news, no bad news, no people hurting people. Just SEALS and Wild Boars back on terra firma! Outstanding.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts