When I grew up, “Heroes” were people like…:
- Ernest Shackleton: In 1916, Shackleton was on an Antarctic expedition when his ship, HMS Endurance, was trapped, and then crushed, in pack ice. There was no radio on the Endurance, so the crew of twenty-odd men were as on their own as could be, sort of like Gilligan’s Island, except stuck on an ice floe instead of a tropical paradise. Shackelton managed to keep his entire crew alive on the ice (and then on a barren plug of rock in the South Atlantic, to which they rowed and sailed in open lifeboats for several days) for two years, living on penguins and seal meat. And when after those two years the crew was fading fast, he led three other men in a canvas-covered lifeboat with a jury-rigged sail on an 800-mile voyage, across a South Atlantic that makes the Barents Sea in Dangerous Catch look like Lake Calhoun during a summer squall, using simple hand-held navigational instruments, to South Georgia Island, which with its tiny whaling station was the nearest civilization. An error of so much as a single degree in navigating in the storm in the wet boat with the sextant, chronometer and map would have left the men hopelessly lost – and yet they found South Georgia. And then climbed a mountain across the middle of the island to get help. That’s a hero.
- Stanislaus Schmajzner: A Jewish teenager who’d been arrested by the Nazis, Schmajzner was taken to the Sobibor extermination camp (like Auschwitz, only less famous). There, he lied about having a trade, falsely claiming to be a cobbler, a lie that saved his life (the German guards at the camp needed a cobbler; Jews without needed trades went to the gas chambers). The inmates, watching the slaughter around them (over a quarter of a million died at Sobibor) realized that the only hope for any of them to die with dignity, much less survive, was to rise up, try to kill their guards and, if they survived, make a run for the woods. Schmajzner showed an ingenuity at camouflage and smuggling (among many other of the inmates in on the plot) that was of immense help to the Jews. Finally, the Jews launched their rebellion, killing enough guards to make it through the gate (as the surviving guards machine-gunned them without mercy). Perhaps a couple of hundred made it to the woods; maybe thirty, including Schmajzner, survived the war. Schmajzher emigrated to Brazil, eventually, but spent the rest of his life educating people about the Holocaust. That’s a hero.
- Donald Ruhl: Donald Who? Sadly, that’s right. Donald Ruhl was a 21 year old Private First Class in the US Marines from Columbus, Montana. He was a combat veteran – he’d fought in the brutal compaign on Bougainville, earlier in the war. He landed with the rest of the 28th Marine Regiment (Fifth Marine Division) on Iwo Jima in the winter of 1945. On the second day of the battle, on the approaches to Mount Suribachi…well, I’ll let his Congressional Medal of Honor citation do the talking: “[Ruhl] crawled with his platoon guide to the top of a Japanese bunker to bring fire to bear on enemy troops located on the far side of the bunker, suddenly a hostile grenade landed between the two Marines. Instantly Private First Class Ruhl called a warning to his fellow Marine and dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the full impact of the shattering explosion in his own body and protecting all within range from the danger of flying fragments although he might easily have dropped from his position on the edge of the bunker to the ground below.” That, too, is a hero.
Those, I believe, are heroes.
Grace Kelly – who helped make the old MNBlue such a disgrace that it had to merge with Joe Bodell’s bad-but-not-quite-as-disgraceful Minnesota Campaign Report to form the Minnesota “Progressive” Project blog, writes:
Around this holiday season, I like to say “Thank You” to people who serve unnoticed. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor party has many people who work so hard to create better communities and better government. This is mostly volunteer work with a few underpaid jobs.These are the everyday heroes!
That sure brings “meaning” to the term “everyday heroes”.
Joe “Learned Foot” Tucci – who, by Grace’s generous definition of “hero” certainly is one, except that he’s not a DFLer – grants these heroes what is, for heroes in our society (at least, the ones that don’t dash into burning buildings to save others, or volunteer to leave their families for a year to defend Code Pink from being rounded up and beheaded) the ultimate recognition; being immortalized in one of those Budweier “Real American Heroes” spots.
Go read it. It’s enough to make you want…
DEEP THROATED NARRATOR: Shot In The Dark presents…Real DFL Heroes
OVERWROUGHT MULLETED SINGER: ♫ Real DFL heeeeroooooes ♫
NARRATOR: Today we salute YOU, Mr. Paid Leftyblogger!!
OMS: ♫ Mizz Anonymously-Paid Leftyblogger!!♫
NARRATOR: While the rest of the world goes on with their lives, you devote yourself to the eternal quest; finding an original way to try to photoshop Michele Bachmann…
OMS: ♫ “Ain’t that woman cra-zeee?”♫
NARRATOR: When questioned about your funding, you respond the way your group always has; “Soros? Who’s George Soros?”
OMS: ♫ Never heaaard of him!♫
NARRATOR: But at the end of the day, you’re the one who Twin Cities lefties can count on to break the monopoly of the conservative Star/Tribune, and tell the truth!
OMS: ♫ Pawlenty lied and people died! ♫
NARRATOR: So pop open a Corona, Mister Anonymously-Paid Leftyblogger! Because at the end of the day, when Media Matters says “Jump”, someone has to answer “Off What?”
OMS: ♫ Mister Anonymously-Paid Leftyblogger♫
NARRATOR: Shot In The Dark, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
[Hee Haw on] Saaaa-LUTE![/Hee Haw off].
Not a dry eye in the place, I tells ya.