Do you know how close the world came to never hearing of Walt Disney?
It is true, a usually forgotten piece of Disney history happened on September 4, 1918.

The place is Chicago, on this September day a young postal employee named Walt Disney (who is a substitute mail carrier) is walking through the West Adams Street lobby of the Federal Building in Chicago when he hears a deafening blast that shakes the ground. The ground rocked and it was discovered that someone has planted a bomb.

It was allegedly planted by the International Workers of the World (lWW) as a reprisal for the sentencing of the union’s leader, “Big Bill” Haywood, convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 during the First Red Scare that year.

On this tragic day, more than 75 people are injured and four are killed – including a co-worker of Walt’s named William Wheeler. The force of the blast also kills a horse on the street, damages a streetcar and shatters windows on nearby buildings.

It is the kind of story that we still hear from time to time in this era of history. It makes us cringe, it makes our hearts sink, and gives us an uneasy feeling in the pit of our stomach. A normal day, filled with people doing normal things, and then suddenly the world rips apart because of the cowardly act of others who are driven by hate and motivated by evil.

When you read accounts that give details of blasts and bombs it makes you want to gather the ones you love closely around you, lock yourselves away someplace safe, and avoid at all costs any place where people who are off kilter might find you. It is amazing that some people will value their cause, and usually their causes are incredibly misguided more than human life. On the day of this bombing, the frustration over the court proceedings were more important than the lives of people who were going about their business, trying to make a living and doing things that had nothing at all to do with the IWW, the Red Scare, or a verdict handed down in court.

Walt described that day and what happened, “I was in the post office. I just got though sorting my mail, or finishing my route. I was walking out … going out a certain entrance … when it was bombed. I was right in the lobby when, FOOOOOM, this thing went off. Here comes the dust shooting out and everything. That was the way I went out every night. I missed that darn thing by about three minutes.” (quote by Walt Disney found in this day in Disney history)

As Walt said, “FOOOOOM”…it happened in an instant, out of nowhere, no time to plan, no time to react….
The reality for each of us is that we never know how many times we have been blessed enough to escape the unthinkable. We never know how close we were to a tragedy that we barely missed or barely missed us. We will never know the number of times that with the tick of a clock, the delay of a moment, or the unseen circumstances have saved us from an accident, an incident, or act of unthinkable deeds. It is easy to forget how precious life really is…sometimes when people face near death moments they walk away and promise themselves they will forever be different because of what “didn’t happen.” Yet, life comes pushing in, the pressure and hectic pace get the best of us, and we are too guilty of moving through life, never taking the time to embrace the moments we are given, understand that each moment is a precious gift, and that because so much of life is beyond our control, we should live each moment to the fullest, strive to make the world a better place, and embrace each day as a gift that we have been blessed with so that we might bless others.

Today, right now…is a day that you have been given to live!
Let your life be a life that makes the lives of others better. Maybe it is a kind word, maybe a smile, maybe an word or two of encouragement, perhaps it is a kind deed, it could be as simple as saying “please” or “thank you”…but since you have been given this day…don’t waste it! You can make the world a better place by sharing yourself with others.

Never underestimate the power of a moment and never underestimate the difference you can make in the lives of others. Today is your day, it is a gift, live forward!


(This article was partially posted on the DixonOnDisney and the KeytotheKingdomseries facebook pages….additional details and thoughts are added here by Jeff Dixon)