On a Young Patriot

Gabe loved his country. In fact, today, Gabe could be called a super patriot. Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 1800s, he grew up wanting to make his country better. So, against the wishes of his farmer father, Gabe went to university.

There he learned more about his people and their past, and this only fueled his love for his land. When he heard that the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand, was coming to visit his part of that world, Gabe excitedly vowed to see the Crown Prince when he came.

What the world didn’t know was that over a half-dozen assassins lined the streets of Sarajevo that day, each one dedicated his life to killing the heir to the throne. In some similar ways, each assassin on that route had the same passion that Gabe had for his country.

As the motorcade carrying the heir and his wife traveled through the city, one of those assassins first attempted to kill the couple by throwing a bomb at their motorcar. The bomb had a delayed fuse, and it bounced under one of the following cars and exploded, injuring the occupants, but the Crown Prince was unharmed. Amazingly, the parade continued.

Gabe stood nowhere near that part of the parade route, but he heard in the crowd about the assassination attempt and felt like many others did—that parade would surely be called off. So, he decided to go into a nearby restaurant and eat some lunch, nursing his hurt feelings that he didn’t get to see the royal couple.

You know what happened next. Franz Ferdinand gave a speech and then decided to visit those who had been injured in the assassination attempt earlier. He and his wife got back into their motorcar in the parade continued somewhat. The Crown Prince’s head of security decided to change the parade route, but he didn’t tell Ferdinand’s driver.

The chauffeur of the Crown Prince’s car then turned down the wrong street. From behind him, people in the following cars yelled for him to turn the motorcar back around and follow the new parade route.

At that moment, Gabe stepped out of the cafe and realized that, to his astonishment, the motorcar had turned down the exact street where he had been eating lunch. The young patriot had chosen that moment to walk out of the cafe, and he found himself looking directly into the open back seat of a vehicle in which sat the future emperor of the largest nation in Europe.

Yes, Gabe was a patriot. He loved his country. Except, in Gabe‘s mind, his country was not some empire. His country, at least in his mind, was not made up of Germanic Austrians or ethnic Hungarians, but, rather, of the collection of Slavic people in the southern and eastern part of the empire.

You see, Gabe wanted Austria Hungary to grant the southern Slavic people their independence. He wanted it so badly that Gabe volunteered to be one of those assassins on the route.

Thats why, when sheer chance caused him to come face-to-face with the royal couple, Gabe—Gavrilo Princip—fired his pistol into the bodies of the Austro-Hungarian prince and princess, killing them both, and lighting the fuse that brought about World War 1.

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