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Arland D. Williams Sacrificed His Life For Others

If you travel up I-395 through Washington, D.C., and cross over the Potomac, you will likely cross the Arland D. Williams, Jr., Memorial Bridge. Who was Arland D. Williams, Jr.? On January 13, 1982, he gave hope to five individuals at the cost of his own life. On that cold January day, Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the icy Potomac. Ice on the wings prevented the plane from a successful take-off. Almost all of the passengers perished.

Five different times, a helicopter dropped a rope to save Williams. Five times, Williams passed the rope to other passengers in worse shape than he was. When the rope was extended to Williams the sixth time, he could not take hold, and succumbed to the frigid waters.

His heroism was not rash. Aware that his own strength was fading, he deliberately handed hope to someone else over the space of several minutes.

Jesus did not make a rash decision to give his life for ours. That Jesus would be an atoning sacrifice for us was his destiny from eternity past. We need only take the lifeline handed to us by his sacrificial death on the cross.

Preaching Today

Father Saved His Child

Forty-two-year-old David Saunders waited on the driveway of his Hanover, Michigan, home for his 4-year-old daughter, Danielle, to get off her school bus. A pickup truck was stopped behind the bus. Saunders crossed the street to meet Danielle at the bus and then the two crossed the street together and stood in the Saunders' driveway. Suddenly he noticed that a car behind the bus was traveling too fast to stop safely before entering the crossing zone. The car swerved to avoid the pickup and went into the Saunders' driveway. Heading directly for them both, Saunders grabbed Danielle by the arm and flung her away from himself and into their front yard.

He was then struck by the car. Saunders was pronounced dead at the scene. Danielle was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital and soon released. The 16-year-old driver and a 15-year-old passenger were not injured.

Sheriff's Captain Tony Philipps said, "It was a heroic act by a father to save his child. He did everything he could, and in the process, he lost his own life."

Preaching Today