Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News
Sunday, July 2, 2000
Walter Albritton

Good advice for anyone, anytime: "Never give up!"

We all admire people who set a goal and refuse to quit until they reach it. Our heroes are the people who endure to the end. Perhaps no human quality is more honored than perseverance.

Winston Churchill, for example, will always be remembered for his tenacious spirit, and that which he inspired in the people of England during World War II. When it appeared likely that Hitler would bring England to its knees, Prime Minister Churchill kept hope alive with his famous words, "We will be victorious!"

Churchill traveled all over England to motivate his fellow citizens. He kept morale high by inspiring workers in the factories and on the farms to work tirelessly for their just cause. He visited the troops and instilled in them the conviction that England would prevail.

No story is more captivating than that of Churchill's visit with the coal miners. Hearing that the miners were discouraged about their contribution to the war effort, Sir Winston surprised them by showing up in the dangerous underground tunnels where they worked.

Amazed that Churchill would risk coming into the mines, the workers stared in trembling disbelief as the Prime Minister's words rang in their ears: "We will be victorious! We will preserve our freedom. And years from now when our freedom is secure and peace reigns, your children and your children's children will come and they will say to you, 'What did you do to win our freedom in that great war?' And one will say, 'I marched with the Eighth Army!' Someone else will proudly say, 'I manned a submarine.' And another will say, 'I guided the ships that moved the troops and the supplies.' And still another will say, 'I doctored the wounds!'"

Then, with persuasive power unequaled by any world leader of his time, Churchill shouted, "They will come to you, and you will say with equal right and equal pride, 'I cut the coal! I cut the coal that fueled the ships that moved the supplies! That's what I did. I cut the coal!"

It would be fair to say that from that hour no coal miners ever worked with greater courage and enthusiasm than the men who heard Churchill that day. They refused to quit. They endured, and helped England preserve its precious freedom. Though the German bombs continued to fall upon English cities, the coal miners were never discouraged again.

Years afterward Churchill was invited back to speak at old Harrow School, which he had attended as a boy. Those present were surprised at the brevity of his speech, a speech which was but one sentence long. Yet no one could deny that the elder statesman was imminently qualified to make such a speech. His inspiring example of perseverance during the war had earned him the right to utter the few words he spoke. Standing before the boys and the faculty of the school, Churchill said forcefully, "Never give up! Never, never, never give up!" With that he was done. But likely none of those boys ever heard a more memorable and inspiring speech for the rest of their lives.

People who never give up can inspire the rest of us to tie a knot in the end of our rope and hold on. Kirk Triplett is one such person. Who is he? A swimmer? A race car driver? A mountain climber? A chess player? A football player?

No, Triplett is a golfer who recently won the Nissan Open title, his very first tournament victory. What you may not know is that Kirk has been playing on the PGA circuit for 11 years. He played in 266 golf tournaments before finally winning! What this tells us about this man is that he refused to quit. Persistence paid off after more than a decade of losing.

So whatever worthwhile goal you are pursuing, stay the course. Stay with it. Hang in there. Find the courage to get up and try again. Refuse to quit. Never give up. That is good advice for anyone, anytime.