Across time, there have been a great many brave men and women who have embodied the true meaning of what it is to be hero. They are all joined together by one common bond- a mutual love and respect for the sanctity of human life and the courage to make a difference. Some of those mentioned are familiar but forgotten heroes, others were just as heroic, but for reasons unknown, their names remain largely unrecognized. These are the accounts of their individual bouts of heroism.
Maria Feodorovna, was married to the Russian Tsar, Alexander III. While assisting with the paperwork concerning suspected criminals, Maria transposed the following sentence, thereby saving the life of an accused man through the power of one misplaced punctuation. The order was intended to say: Pardon Impossible, to send to Siberia.” Instead, she wrote: “Pardon, Impossible to send to Siberia.” Though she is among the forgotten heroes, her deeds were duly noted!
Many may only faintly recognize Alice Catherine Evans, if even at all. Although she did most of the work and the research in order to develop the process of Pasteurization, Louis Pasteur enjoyed the credit instead. This one’s for you, Alice Catherine Evans, a true example of heroism. She saved countless lives as a microbiologist studying this process, but no one took her seriously until others (Louis Pasteur) discovered the same findings.
Philip Emeagwali is the man who made the internet become a possible reality. Without the algorithm he discovered that allows computers to share information worldwide, there would be no world wide web. A man from a poor family in Nigeria, Philip did not even have the opportunity to finish school. His refugee family could not afford to send him; therefore he had to drop out. Eventually he received a certificate at the University of London and went on to other programs, including a doctoral fellowship from the University of Michigan. While Emeagwali admits he had no idea where his algorithm would lead, his amazing contribution has undoubtedly benefitted the entire world. Great genius of this calibur deserves remembrance.
Of all these heroes, there is one who warrants some special attention. His name is Rick Rescorla, who rescued all of the Morgan Stanley employees on 9/11 with the exception of 13. Morgan Stanley had 2700 workers in its employ at the time of the terrorist attacks. Rescorla was the security director and his heroism was nearly unmatchable in the face of chaos and death. Thanks to him, the employees were spared and returned from the traumatic experience alive and well. The British born gentleman had served as an Officer in the U.S. Army and had the distinguishment of having been a member of the Northern Rhodesia Police. He died in true hero’s fashion, directing people to evacuate from the South Tower. His well-prepared evacuation plans had provided the employees with a near flawless means of escape.
Amy Carmichael, a Christian missionary to India risked her life numerous times in efforts to rescue children and young women from the temples, where they were sold against their will as sex objects and offerings to the Hindu gods. Born of an Irish family, Amy often envied her brother’s blue eyes and reportedly prayed daily for her brown eyes to turn blue as well. By Divine providence, her eyes never changed as her childhood supplications had requested. A blessing in disguise, her brown eyes helped her in the future. In order to rescue the children from the temples, she soaked her skin in black coffee until it was stained brown. By creating the illusion that she was a woman of Indian descent, she managed to slip in and out of the temples without drawing attention to herself. She saved countless children from becoming sex slaves and victims of human trafficking.
An act of heroism is defined as one’s selfless sacrifice of themselves, their time, their abilites, or their love for fellow man in order to achieve a greater good. While there are many more who embody the true spirit of heroes, the few mentioned here will hopefully reawaken an appreciation for the amazing presence they have had on the world. Their contributions will live on and their leagcies will be dragged to the light, where they will undoubtedly be remembered once again, no longer heroes forgotten.
Opinion By: J.A. Johnson