Memorial Day honors the brave American soldiers who lost their lives in wars. In observance of this day, people all over the US will visit the memorials of their loved ones who gave their lives serving in the military.
As a researcher and writer on the subject of life after death, I can only wonder how dying in such a sad, traumatic way affects the eternal soul of the soldier. More often than not, the death of a soldier happens suddenly and unexpectedly. Soldiers of war look forward to one day returning home to their families. What happens when that dream is suddenly taken from them, and they find themselves on the other side, in a different place, in a different world? Are they prepared for such an eventuality? In addition, what do they find on the other side? What awaits a soldier in the afterlife?
Ancient Norsemen believed that soldiers traveled to Valhalla, an afterlife realm that was reserved for warriors who died in battle. According to lore, Valhalla (paradise) was the place where soldiers went after a heroic death on the battlefield. There, they would enjoy celebrations given in their honor.
Is this what we can expect for soldiers who die in war? These questions were left to my imagination until I discovered Richard Hall, an American soldier who died in World War I in France. Hall had been a volunteer soldier ambulance driver in Hartmanns-Weilerkopf, one of the bloodiest areas of the war. He was killed on Christmas morning in 1915, by a German shell as he drove an ambulance up a steep, shell-endangered mountain.
Hall died with honors. At his memorial service, the Cross of War was pinned upon the French Flag, which covered his body. His tomb says simply: Richard Hall, an American who died for France.
One would think that would have been the last anyone would ever hear from Hall. However, approximately one year later, from the spiritual world, Hall found a way to communicate, and tell his story of what it was like to be a soldier who was killed in service.
One evening, a year or so after his death, Hall found a way to connect with Ruth Ebright Finley and her husband Emmet Finley, and the astonishing tale of a soldier killed during war unfolded. The Finley’s were new to spirit communication (channeling). In the beginning they even questioned the validity of what was happening. Then they began the task of accepting Hall and wrote down his communications from the other side.
They were told that Hall was an American soldier, killed in service of the allied cause. He was struck and killed by a stray shell at a desolate turn in the road up a mountain, which German guns tried intermittently to reach. His car was demolished and swept off the road. He was killed several hours before sunrise. It wasn’t until morning that he was found by his comrades traveling in ambulances along the same road of the mountain.
He revealed in his statements to Ruth and Emmet, that he had been fearful that day because the fighting was so heavy. However, when the call came, he went forth and did his job, not knowing that death awaited him. What he found on the other side upon crossing over was recorded through several channeling sessions.
Hall says, “There was a mist in the air—half mist, half smoke from the battle that had been raging for days up and down the mountain. A call came. The dark was of a blackness that could be felt, and it was cold. … I am not ashamed to say that I was afraid… all day we had been under fire. I hummed a tune under my breath for company and to keep my courage up. Several shells burst ahead of me. I went on. I was singing when the shell that sent me into eternity, as I now know it, hit.
I went out, out, out, out. I can find no words to tell you the horror of sudden death. It is the one great tragedy. When thought returned, I was as one lost in a familiar yet wholly strange world. Aimlessly I wandered, seeking I knew not what, dazed, mystified. I did not know I was, as you say and as I used to say, dead. When death comes naturally there are always those here to meet the voyagers. But there was no one to meet me, no one to explain that I had graduated into a new plane of consciousness.
At last one came, a woman, a very sweet woman whose service here has done much to alleviate the shock of battle-field graduation, and took me by the—shall I say, hand?— and led me to a—may I say, quiet woodland spot?—where after a time I learned the hope, the reality of the triumphant blessing I had achieved.
And so I have chosen my work here, and with that work I go on—the comforting of those who come to us suddenly out of the shock of battle. I meet them, poor frightened soldier-boys, and teach them the truth —the simplicity of their own immortality.”
Hall also spoke extensively about our consciousness here and in the hereafter, saying that consciousness is the one and only reality.
Hall took a terrible death and turned it into a positive life on the other side. His first job there after crossing over was to help soldiers of war to adjust to their new existence, their new way of living when arriving in from war. Perhaps somehow the families left behind can find comfort in the knowledge that their loved ones are alive and well on the other side, helped by others like Richard Hall, an American solider.
Hall’s communications were published in 1920 in the book, “Conversations with an American Soldier Who Died in World War I in France.”