Tim McCarthy had the day off from his job as a Secret Service agent for President Ronald Reagan. A request came through for an additional agent to help on a detail.
McCarthy and another agent flipped a coin to see who would go.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” —John 15:13
The president was going across town to speak and would only be exposed for about 30 feet between the limo and the building’s entrance, so the decision was made for him to not wear his usual body armor.
Following the speech, as the press gathered outside, John Hinckley Jr. had crossed into the press line with a 22 caliber semi-automatic pistol with the intention of assassinating Reagan. As the president approached the limo door, Hinckley fired six shots in just three seconds. The Secret Service immediately entered into their protocols. Agent Jerry Parr threw Reagan into the vehicle, shielding him with his own body, while McCarthy stepped into the line of fire, spreading his arms as wide as possible to shield the car door. He was hit in the abdomen. Press Secretary James Brady was struck in the head, suffering partial paralysis. Officer Thomas Delahanty’s left arm had permanent nerve damage. No one was killed.
President Reagan wrote a letter to McCarthy that stated, “There will always be the special gratitude I feel for your extraordinary heroism on that one cold day in March. It is a gratitude words could never convey.”
To step in front of a madman firing a gun; there is something deep inside that has to trigger that kind of greatness in us.
MY SHIELD, I know there will be many times that You and your angels will protect me and my loved ones at times when I will see it and at times when I won’t. Thank You for Your protection and care. In turn, help me to always be willing to go into action to help my fellow man, whether a president or a pauper.