In 1982, these men were sworn enemies. For 1 day in 2015, they became teammates.

Can you imagine shaking the hand of someone who once tried to kill you? It's almost unthinkable. But these men did it.

All photos by Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images.


Over 900 people died in the 1982 Falklands War, or the Guerra de la Malvinas. The 74-day confrontation between Argentina and the United Kingdom was fought for control over two island territories in the South Atlantic.

Sadly, the war's toll was much greater than just the death count as open wounds remain for many of its survivors even decades later.

But recently, veterans from both sides gathered to heal together. On the rugby field.

SAMA, the South Atlantic Medal Association, believes some 264 U.K. veterans have committed suicide in the years since the war. As for Argentinian veterans, many of them have banded together to seek justice for mistreatment and abuse that occurred at the hands of their own commanding officers.

But for one day, at least, the ugliness of the war was set aside to celebrate one of the things Argentina and the U.K. share: their love of rugby.

The match was organized by Rugby sans Frontieres (Rugby without Borders), a nonprofit built to spread social tolerance and solidarity through competition.

Argentinian and British veterans played side by side as both teammates and opponents.

The match was kept short – after all, most of the veterans are in their 50s now – and played with a ball blessed by Pope Francis.


Think they took it easy on each other? Not a chance.

But the message was clear; their days as enemies are over.

According to one veteran, "We were victims of circumstance. Politicians failed, and we had to go and try to fix what politicians did wrong."

The men didn't show up to debate Argentinian sovereignty or to air grievances or to mourn.

They were there to make peace.

The veterans even went out for a beer afterwards.

"The beauty of rugby is afterwards, we talk, we drink, and we laugh," 57-year-old vet David Jackson said.

"Reconciliation is important," said another. "This is an emotional moment."


33 years ago, these men were sworn enemies. Today they're brothers.

The fact that they were able to put aside their harrowing memories of the war and see their old foes as fathers, sons, brothers. As people. It's just...

...hell, I'll just say it. It's beautiful.

True

When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

Keep Reading Show less