Monday, March 16, 2015

MY VIEW #18 - What is Courage?

Rescuers helping an injured man during the London Blitz - London Telegraph photo
Years ago, about 1944, during the last world war, while I lived in England, newspapers were limited in size (only 4 pages) and everyone read and saved them. About once a week room was allowed for a picture and story of someone showing "special" braveness (sic.) There were lots of stories, but the picture and story that is still in my heart and memory is this one.

It appeared in our paper one day, a photo of an old lady and a young serviceman. No-one knew who they were, for a while. A bomb landed in London, a lot killed, some lived, and all was dust and destruction. After all the noise, uncanny quiet, and those alive wondering "who will rescue me?" ARP  (Air Raid Precautions) soon on the spot, looking for live people. How wonderful to hear their welcome, calming voices, after lying in the wreckage, with the smell of death and fear, for hours. "We'll have you out of here in no time, love, just hang on."

The old lady and young man were trapped by a big metal, twisted, beam, lying across their legs, just below their knees, and they couldn't move. You could imagine them, stuck, very dirty, scared and wet, telling each other their life stories, over the hours, waiting for rescue. Finally they were rescued, but the old lady had just died. The man lived, unhurt. Both his legs were artificial legs and he could have unbuckled them and crawled off to safety, but he stayed with the old lady, to keep her company and not let her die alone. I let you draw your own conclusion.

Was he brave? Very, and I'm glad I told you this story of courage.

Letty Evans
October 14, 2006