righteous among the nations

The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. — Proverbs 28:1 NIV

In 2015, Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds of the 422nd Infantry Regiment Headquarters Company was posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for rescuing Jewish American servicemen at Stalag IXA POW Camp in Germany. Sergeant Edmonds is only the fifth American to be recognized by the Nation of Israel as Righteous Among the Nations, alongside Varian Fry, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, and Lois Gunden. He is the first American soldier to be named as Righteous and the first of the Righteous to save American Jews. He’s also the first of the righteous from the great state of Tennessee.

Righteous Among the Nations is the highest honor given by the nation of Israel to non-Jews who risked their lives to protect Jews during the Holocaust.

The historic ceremony to honor Roddie Edmonds, Lois Gunden, and Walery and Maryla Zbijewski was hosted by ambassador Ron Dermer on January 27, 2016 at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. Attending were a host of world dignitaries including movie maker Steven Spielberg and guest of honor President Barack Obama. Israeli Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, also spoke live from Jerusalem. Special guests in attendance were WWII POW’s Sonny Fox, Lester Tanner, Paul Stern and their families who represented more than 200 Jewish Americans whom Roddie helped save. It was a remarkable evening.

The Edmonds family is grateful to the Nation of Israel and Yad Vashem for their treasured friendship. Chris says, “Being named Among the Righteous is a fitting tribute to Dad. Our family is humbled that he joins a small minority of ordinary people who mustered extraordinary courage to uphold the goodness and dignity of humanity.

In a defining moment, when evil demanded Dad’s faith in God and love for others, he refused to join the masses and bowed to no one. He chose to do what’s right for God and humanity, regardless of the risk, regardless of the consequences.

If you asked dad why he did it he’d say, “What’s all the fuss? I opposed my enemy, I protected my men, I honored my God, I was just doing my job.”

At the Righteous Ceremony President Obama said, “Your father may have said he was just doing his job, but what he did went beyond the call of duty. Faced with a choice of giving up his fellow soldiers or saving his own life, Roddie looked evil the eye and dared a Nazi to shoot. His moral compass never wavered. He was true to his faith. I cannot imagine a greater expression of Christianity than to say; I too, am a Jew.”

Roddie saved his Jewish brothers because it was the right thing to do. He knew it was the right thing to do because of his faith in God and the moral code he learned from the Bible.

C – Choose God   O – Oppose Evil   D – Dignify Life   E – Express Love

To make our world better we can do the same.

That’s what our hateful world needs—righteous love expressed by all of us. The cure for anti-Semitism, racism, and hatred of every kind is love. We are the difference. When we do what’s right for others, we make our world better and extend a legacy of God’s goodness to future generations.

The Talmud teaches the same…"He who saves one life saves the entire world." Like Roddie, go save your world—one kind word, one good deed, one loving action, one precious life at a time.

Do what’s right for others. Be the hero!
Rescue Story – Roddie Edmonds“We are all Jews here!”Righteous Among the Nations – Yad VashemPresident Barack ObamaRighteous Among the Nations, Israeli Embassy, Washington DCWhat Does Righteous Among the Nations Mean?


"Your ordinary life lived well is extraordinary — even heroic. Be the Hero! " - Pastor Chris Edmonds
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