Monday, 11 November 2013

My Act of Remembrance

Remembrance Day is special for me.  I can't particularly say why.  It wasn't emphasized beyond the usual in our family or at any of the schools I went to.  But once I grasped the concept that real, actual people had chosen to fight and risk injury and death in order to save others, that meant a great deal to me.  November 11th became my annual reminder to be grateful to those who paid horrible prices to protect others.

While the emphasis for Remembrance Day is usually on soldiers, particularly those who fought in the two World Wars, I expanded it in my mind to include everyone who risks their life to protect another person.  This is a day to honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, regardless of whether or not they wore a uniform.

I include police officers, both those who have been attacked and shot at and those who fill their minds with horrible images in order to save children from predators.  I include the mom who risks her life to sneak her kids out of the house and away from an abusive relationship.  I include the organizers and participants of underground railroads who rescue children from slavery and abuse, often at risk of their own lives.  I include the everyday heroes who risk themselves to save others.

One particular story of the latter kind gives me courage and strength to make the right choices.  Rick Rescorla was an employee of Morgan Stanley, at the World Trade Center during September 11th.  He got over 2000 people out of the tower when the planes hit.  And went back inside to make sure everyone got out.  He was still inside when the tower collapsed.

I have great respect for soldiers and I certainly don't want this post to be taken as a dismissal of what they do.  No other job in the world has being shot at on a daily basis as one of the requirements.  They deserve to be honoured for their bravery and steadfastness.

But I believe we also need to remember that we are all capable of being more than we think.  We are all more than we could ever believe.

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