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Jim's Rant For The Day. Heroes, and others

11/21/12 10:00 AM Jim's Rant For The Day. Heroes, and others


The past month has been one with photos of a lot of generals and admirals plastered in the news. I guess by design, my eyes always go to the medals and ribbons on their chests. As I have said before, I am not of the military world, and I do recognize that the ribbons are there by tradition; the person wearing them has no decision in the matter. I assume the pennants are for work performed, theaters of action, leadership and possibly bravery - pretty much the wearer's accomplishments. Please allow me share two of my heroes with you. The first is Marie Curie, who circa 1900, with her husband Pierre's help, discovered the element radium. So why is she a hero? Because she was a fast woman. It took her just five minutes to decide not to patent her discovery. She realized that she would have been the wealthiest person on the earth if she held the patent, equivalent to our Bill Gates. But she declined so that the medical X-ray technology would be available to the common man. Later, she gave away her Nobel Prize award money too. She died a plain, non-wealthy person from radiation poisoning.

William Wilberforce was a Member of the English Parliament in the early 1800s. He exhausted most of his career in his passion to end the slave trade, which he finally did with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which actually ended the legal slave trade on the entire planet. Upon its passage, a fellow MP, Charles Grey, gave this speech:

"When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon, men of violence. Rarely, do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power; a man who has reached the very summit of earthly ambition, yet his dreams will be haunted with the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce however, will return to his family, laying his head on his pillow, and remember, the slave trade is no more."

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