It's possible most of us missed this Tuesday, because it wasn't the lead on TMZ, and it didn't involve any BFFs of Kim or the KitandKaboodle Krew. And since poisonous palaver sells better than sober reporting, the Kids in the Hall (Fort Lee, NJ, branch) and the three-piece suit-covered suet sacks over at Faux Gnus probably didn't know what to make of it either. That's why I rely on the unadorned straight-forward reporting of NPR, elegantly simple and simply elegant to place events into perspective.
Salvatore Giunta reminds me, again, that while celebrities make headlines, it's heroes who make a difference every single day. "There's so many different worlds, so many different suns; and we have just one world, but we live in different ones." I'm not foolish enough to think I could ever be as brave as Staff Sergeant Giunta-perhaps you could, but because of men and women like him, the rest of us only need to be as brave as we each can be, in our own way.
If having civil courage means helping an elderly person carry groceries to the car, slowing down in a school zone while driving because you know kids don't always pay attention to traffic, picking up a discarded fast-food wrapper instead of walking by it and shaking your head or any of the hundreds of random acts of small kindness that make wherever you live your home, then, by all means, thanks to the sacrifice and example of SSG Giunta, be as brave as you can.
To run toward the sound of guns-to be willing to forfeit your life for comrade, unasked, instinctively and without thinking, is probably equal parts nature and nurture but all of it is heartbreakingly breathtaking. We put sports figures in open cars and drive them through a hailstorm of confetti down the Canyon of Heroes for winning baseball games. And for this twenty-five year old, who was younger than that when he was so heroic so far away, all we need do is agree with the President when he declares 'he is what America is all about.'
When we have people with the courage to die for what they believe in, such as Salvatore Giunta, how is it that so often, too often, we can't find the courage to live for what we should believe in? "Now the sun's gone to hell, and the moon's riding. Let me bid you farewell; every man has to die. But it's written in the starlight and every line on your palm. We're fools to make war on our brothers in arms." What fools we mortals be.