Posts Tagged Feel-Good Story
Last night, as I was turning-off my computer, I noticed that one of my visitors had read the following post, from the eve of the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. That Landing turned the tide in World War II. Afterward, the Allies, on both sides of the Atlantic, worked so hard to create an everlasting Alliance, which has promoted Peace through Economic Cooperation ever since.
I wish that Donald Trump, and like-minded demagogues, across the Atlantic, would visit Normandy, sit on that bench (mentioned in the poetic Reuters article) and reflect on what might have been–if the Allies had lost that War!
Many of the Western Leaders will gather at Normandy, France this Friday to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Landings, by American, British and Canadian Forces, on June 6, 1944. Those Landings–at a considerable loss of Young Lives–turned the tide in World War II. The Survivors from that Fateful Day–at least those who can still travel–will be there, as well. Since they are now in their 90s, however, this will probably be their last chance to commemorate that Day–and honor their fallen comrades.
The linked article, by Alexandria Sage, from Reuters, provides a touching description of what goes on at the several Cemeteries (American, British and Canadian), day-in, and day-out. Although this article is specific to the American Cemetery, the same care and devotion is given the burial places of the other Allied Heroes, as well. Be sure to read this most touching, poetic story: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/30/us-d-day-cemetery-idUSKBN0EA1CH20140530,
As I read Ms. Sage’s article, it makes me think of those splendid words from President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg, Pa., some eighty years before, when he said: “…The World will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but can never forget what they did here…” The story of the successive generations of French who have cared for the Gravesides is quite enthralling, and reflects the love and devotion which they provide.
Over the last several decades, it seems that we are always in some variation of “These Troubled Times”; but, this Op-Ed will surely make you smile.
Linked from the Miami Herald, by Uri Dromi: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article109039097.html
In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave 3,000 cherry blossom trees to (assumedly, the Mayor of) Washington, D.C, as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. As the cherry blossoms have continued to blossom, as have the dogwood trees that Washington sent to Tokyo, the friendship between the two countries–however strained in time of the two World Wars–continues to this day. The aesthetic beauty has of the trees, in both countries, remains but a beautiful symbol of that lasting relationship.
The cherry blossom trees have become a primary tourist attraction in Washington, D. C, especially around the Washington Mall. Every April, the City holds the Cherry Blossom Festival. If you are ever in the D, C. area, around this time of year, make a special effort to visit the area around the Tidal Basin. You’ll never regret it!
I encourage you to view the linked advertisement from the NY Times, which was paid for by the Embassy of Japan, entitled “The Magic of Cherry Blossoms: Honoring the Friendship of Two Nations”: http://paidpost.nytimes.com/embassy-of-japan/the-gift-of-cherry-blossoms-honoring-the-friendship-of-two-nations.html?WT.mc_id=2016-March-NYTNative_ArticleMod-Japan-0318-0417&WT.mc_ev=click?action=click&module=Marginalia®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article&version=PaidPostDriver
Recently, there have been two horrendous episodes of domestic violence on the part of star players in the National Football League. One was by a player who knocked his (then) Fiancee (and now his Wife) out on a casino elevator, and had to literally drag her to their room. The other case was of another player who physically beat his four-year old son, leaving various bruises and scars. He has allegedly also physically abused another son, as well.
There are some concerns, on the part of the corporate sponsors and the general public, as to how badly both of the two Teams handled these distressing events. More importantly, there are suggestions that the NFL–and even the League Commissioner–covered-up these offenses, until they became public knowledge. I believe that there are other cases of such violence that have just not been made public. I guess that anything goes in the pursuit of Money.
There is, however, another situation where Devon Still, a Defensive Tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, asked to take a day off during the Pre-Season to attend his Daughter’s dance recital, in Delaware. As he was preparing to take the four year-old Leah to the Recital, he noticed that she was sick; so, he took her to the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. After many tests, Leah was diagnosed as having a neuroblastoma–brain cancer. She has a 50-50 chance to survive.
As it turns-out, after having his heart set on being a professional football player, Devon Still was cut from the Team. Marvin Lewis, the Head Coach of the Bengals, was surprised at how calmly he took being dropped from the Team. Generally, that can mean a detour from a player’s dreams of fame and fortune. Devon just stated that then he would have more time to spend with his Daughter. Actually, he had been quite distracted by Leah’s medical condition.
When Coach Lewis learned of why Devon Still didn’t seem too concerned about being cut, he telephoned him and told him that he could join the Bengal’s Practice Squad, which meant retaining his health insurance. Leah’s cancer operations and treatment were going to cost over $1 Million, so remaining on the Team, in any capacity, would certainly help. The linked article from Sports Illustrated is as follows: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/09/16/devon-still-leah-cancer-cincinnati-bengals/.
The Cincinnati Bengals also placed Devon Still’s Football Jersey #75 on sale and promised that 100% of the profits would be donated to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, to support pediatric cancer research. Sean Payton, Head Coach of the New Orleans Saints immediately placed a personal order for 100 of the Jerseys, at a cost of $10,000.
There are several other pledge sites which are cited in the article. I encourage readers to read this very touching, linked story, a really feel-good article. The story of Devon and Leah Still shows that some people, even aspiring pro athletes certainly do have their priories straight. Not everyone in Professional Football is like the two horrendous people at the very beginning of this story, or the money-grabbing NFL.
Oh, by the way, Devon Still was activated for the second game of the Bengals season. In a very short period of time, just 16 plays, he had two sacks and several tackles. That would have been a great day for a defensive player in an entire game. To those readers who are unfamiliar with American Football, a Sack is when the opposing quarterback is tackled for a loss. Hopefully, Devon Still will stay on the actually Team permanently.
On September 11, 2001, Terrorists flew airliners intro both Towers of the World Trade Center, in New York City, the Pentagon, near Washington, D.C., and Passengers forced “Flight 93” to crash land in a rural field in Western Pennsylvania, killing all aboard. So, there now was a conundrum for International Air Traffic Officials–where to divert incoming flights to?
Luckily, there was somewhat of a solution. In 1936, construction on an international airport had begun near the remote town of Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. Now, the town has barely a current population of 10,000; however, it was decided back in 1935 that a potential landing site should be established in Northeast North America in the event that a diversion might be required, such as for medical or mechanical reasons. An interesting photo of the runway at Gander, on that horrendous date, is linked as follows: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1258678.
Keep in mind that a town of 9.650 people (then) is not going to be a place to expect numerous hotels, restaurants and other accommodations. On that day, 38 civilian and four military flights were diverted to Gander International Airport, with more than 6,600 passengers and crew on board–the equivalent of 66% of the Town’s population. Some interesting facts are linked, as follows, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gander,_Newfoundland_and_Labrador.
It is important to note that Canadian Officials decided that flights would not be allowed to land at major airports in the center of the Country, because of the concern with terrorism, as well. Generally, flights that land in Gander are only in the airport for short time periods while: a plane is refueled; a sick passenger is removed to be sent to a hospital or a replacement plane can be sent by the airline in question. But, their stay in Gander, back in 2001, lasted for six days–until the airspace was reopened and flights were resumed.
I would point-out that a similar situation occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia; however, that is a much larger city. There is an interesting book, “The Day the World Came to Town”. It describes how the Town of Gander responded: people opened their homes to strangers; hospitals, schools, houses of worship took guests in and, virtually, everyone in town made the visitors feel welcome. Lufthansa subsequently named an Airbus 340 Gander/Halifax.
School athletes, especially football and basketball players, at all levels, often seem to think that they are above their classmates–and deserve special privileges. But, Matt Labrum has accomplished something that, I believe, no one else has ever done in American Sports. Michelle Kaufman’s article, in the Miami Herald, is as follows: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/09/v-print/3678310/michelle-kaufman-prep-coachs-bold.html.
Mr. Labrum is the football coach at Union High School, in Roosevelt, Utah. He reviewed the various off-field activities of his players and noticed that they were rude, arrogant, skipping class and even a few were cyber-bullying. Apparently, Coach Labrum figured that these guys needed to be sent a message; because, most would hang-up their cleats for good after high school or, for a few, after college. Now was the time that their priorities needed to be put into proper order–and, he took action.
Mr. Labrum fired his entire Team. He did, however, provide them with a program to earn their jerseys back, and their actions had to be documented. He left the players with the question to be answered, by their actions: do you really want to play on this Team–show it!
There is only good things to come from reading/watching this piece. Be sure to scroll down to the cartoon, at the bottom. Jack also got to visit with President Barack Obama–in uniform, of course.
Way to go, Huskers!