Desensitization to violence can have wide-ranging effects on society. Acknowledgement and understanding of atrocity is necessary, but people should never become accustomed to images of violence and death. Given the fact that news media bombard its audience with grisly tales of horrific murders, it is important to celebrate acts heroism in the face of this cacophony of overwhelming brutality. Such examples can remind us of, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “the better angels of our nature.”
In that spirit, and amidst the chaos of the fight against the Islamic state, David Eubank’s heroism and his family’s sacrifices are important beacons of bravery.
Eubank, a former green beret, works as an aid worker in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul. In this line of work, Eubank has witnessed first-hand just how brutal war can be.
“We see families killed,” said Eubank according to CBS News. “One woman, probably 19 years old, new mother, little newborn, died in my arms.”
Such episodes are common for Eubank. During a recent patrol in Mosul, however, Eubank, a veteran of combat, and no stranger to the atrocities of ISIS, found himself shocked by what caught his eye.
“I see what turns out to be about 70 dead bodies — woman, children, guys in wheelchairs — and then a little girl, sitting next to her dead mother. Hiding under the black hijab,” Eubank said.
Terrified, and in danger, the little Iraqi girl needed help as soon as possible. Eubank, not one to keep himself out of harm’s way when people need help, was compelled to act. Despite the risk and the intense fire from Islamic State fighters all around him, he ran to the girl, grasped her in his arms, and ran back to safety. The entire rescue only took 12 seconds.
It takes a special kind of daring to haphazardly throw your life in danger for the sake of someone you’ve never met, but Eubank had a singularly powerful motivation.
“Love,” Eubank said. “And I remembered this scripture, ‘Greater love has no man who laid down his life for his friends.'”
Extraordinarily, Eubank’s family is also in Mosul. His 16 year old daughter, Sahale, even comforted the rescued Iraqi girl. The family shares their father’s motivation.
“We all prayed about it, and imagined if one of your kids was out there being shot by ISIS, wouldn’t you want someone else to go out there and save them?” Sahale said. “We’re doing this for love.”
The girl has yet to speak, obviously traumatized by the event. Eubank’s heroic rescue, however, and his family’s efforts on her behalf have given her a second chance. The young girl even has a foster family lined up as the Iraqi general who was working closely with Eubank has offered to adopt her if no one comes forward soon.
It’s important to remember how the human spirit is resilient and compassionate, and the example of the Eubank family does that beautifully.