Twenty-four years ago, many years before I became interested in...

Twenty-four years ago, many years before I became interested in Christian Science, I was stationed in the Hawaiian Islands as a pilot-navigator with the United States Naval Air Corps. During leisure moments some of my fellow officers and I used to do some spearfishing at Luau Beach in Kaneohe Bay just outside the Air Base. The section of the beach that we used was a very steep one, where the waves were ten to fifteen feet high and there was an extremely severe undertow. We were all strong swimmers, and under normal conditions we found all phases of this sport very thrilling. Getting in and out of this surf took a great deal of skill and daring.

One day while well out beyond the surf with three other men, I was stung by a Portuguese man-of-war. This simple form of life is of the free-swimming hydrozoan type suspended from the surface. Its sting is quite deadly to fish and at least extremely harmful and painful to men. The hanging tentacles brushed my body in many places, and I began to tingle and feel very numb. This sensation increased very rapidly, causing me to feel great fear and weakness. I told the other men, and we decided to tread water toward shore. They formed a triangle around me so they would be near me but still away from danger. At the rate I was losing strength and courage I felt that I would be dead in an hour. I did not have the strength to get through that pounding surf and undertow. No one could help me, as it is a feat difficult for one man to negotiate for himself, let alone help someone else who is partially immobile.

September 5, 1970

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