My dad's classroom was alive with animated conversations before he and his students started that day's lesson about physics.

On this particular day, the topic of the talking groups of juniors and seniors was about the abduction and murder of an adolescent girl.

A student who was in the class that day said my dad did not join any of the discussions. Dad was looking down at the floor as he contemplated the crime.

"I think I would have to kill," he said out loud but to himself, as if the thought had to be spoken to be made real. "If someone did something to one of my children, I think I would have to kill."

The remarks were doubly startling from a man who was easygoing and who liked to make people laugh by what he said. The comments were so astonishing that they were remembered verbatim nearly 50 years later.

Dad was a big guy; 6 foot-3 and anywhere between 220 and 260 pounds. However, he was as gentle as he was large. He usually ceded discipline matters involving my brothers, sister and me to his wife. It was rare that he even raised his voice; I could not picture him raising his hands in anger.

Dad was a devoted servant of God, so I also cannot imagine him carrying out his threat that he would have to kill the person who murdered or even harmed one of his kids.

However, I know with everything in my heart, mind and soul that Dad would have given his life in an instant if it meant saving that of his wife or any of his children.

As I said, he was a dedicated follower of his faith. Dad could not help but emulate the example of Christ, who gave His life for those He loved.

+++

Where love is,

no sacrifice is too great.