The word unsung hero seems to mean many different things. The free dictionary defines it as “someone or something that provides a great benefit, has done very good work, has performed some heroic deed or function, etc., but has not received the credit or recognition they deserve.” The main problems, as always is perspective, the word hero is masculine and who defines benefit, good work? There have been many people throughout history, all over the world, who have done some amazing things and they sometimes did so for human love, and they knew it was right.
Witness History, on the BBC World Service told the story of this Japanese diplomat who in 1985, was honoured by Israel as one of the Righteous Among the Nations: that is a non-Jews who, at personal risk saved lives during the Holocaust. So maybe he is not so unsung, but then how many of us have even heard of him?
In 1940, Chiune Sugihara, worked in the Japanese Embassy in Kaunas, Lithuania, when he was approached by desperate Jewish refugees seeking transit visas to escape Europe and the Nazis. When he asked his superiors, they said no so he decided not to ask them anymore! According to Wikipedia “It has been estimated as many as 100,000 people alive today are the descendants of the recipients of Sugihara visas”: those 100,000 must be very grateful.
His son, Nobuki Sugihara, asked his dad why and answer was something like just human love. He had a hard life but was not a person to brag about what he had done, but he knew what he had done was right.
The Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations has over 2,000 trees.
I Saw a Man Take his Own Life Today
A very profound and heart rending read. It needed to be said however and was very well written. Erik Rittenberry, an unsung hero because he is a fire fighter and/or has acknowledged another human being and written part of their story with understanding and lack of judgement.
Some of the quotes in his piece are below: the first one seemed most poignant.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing.
The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows.
Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view, i.e., the fear of falling remains a constant.
The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames.
And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” David Foster Wallace
“Let them think what they liked, but I didn’t mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank — but that’s not the same thing.” ― Joseph Conrad
“The literal meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that prevents you from killing yourself.” Albert Camus
5 steps to mental wellbeing
Not saying this because it will put all the flames out but hopefully may help someone. The five steps are: Connect with other people, be physically active, learn new skills, give to others, pay attention to the present moment.
May we all be well, healthy and strong.
May we all be loved and cared for,
May we all be forgiven and forgiving
May we all be happy and at peace.