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Ray Bakke, the Executive Director of International Urban Associates, tells a great story from World War II.


An airman named MacDonald and a Scottish chaplain bailed out behind German lines, were captured and put into a prison camp, with MacDonald in the American barracks and the chaplain with the Brits. The Germans had put a wire fence between the American and British prisoners, and it was

impossible for the two sides to communicate privately. But the Americans had managed to put together a homemade radio and were able to get news from the outside, more precious in a prison camp even than food. And every day MacDonald and the Scot would meet at the fence and exchange a brief greeting. Since the two men spoke Gaelic, which the Germans couldn’t understand, the greeting consisted largely of the latest headline.


Finally the news came that the war was over; the German High

Command had surrendered. After MacDonald had transmitted the news to his friend, he watched him disappear into the British barracks. A moment later, a roar of celebration came from the barracks. The camp was transformed. Men sang and shouted, waving and smiling at the bewildered guards.


When the news finally filtered down to the guards three nights later, they simply walked away from their posts, leaving the gates unlocked. The next morning, the prisoners walked out as free men. But if you stop and

think about it, they had actually been set free three days earlier - simply by knowing the truth: the war

was over.

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