Friday, December 09, 2005

They Saved the World

I am always amazed when I see thousands pour into the streets either to say their farewell to some celebrity or to welcome them. The most recent one being George Best's funeral.

Hundreds of thousands poured into the streets for the funeral of someone who at best dazzled us with his football skills for a couple of years and then lived the rest of his life as a complete piss artist. George Best is certainly not a role model I would choose.

I started pondering as to why the masses feel obliged to display such acts of stupidity. Is it the media manipulation? Is it the media's constant coverage of these characters that makes people feel like they have lost a close relative? and then my thoughts wondered to ask who would I choose as the ultimate hero? the ultimate role model? Who does the world owe more to than anyone else?

Quite frankly, I didn't have to think for too long. For me it has to be the sacrifice made by a small number of Soviet professionals who saved the world from the deadly radiation of Chernobyl. Men like Anatoly Grishchenko, the Ukranian test pilot, who flew over the nuclear site and poured sand and boron carbide into the burning reactor to stop the nuclear bonfire and tons of radioactive material.

These courageous people knew what they would face, physiological damage from radiation poisoning, however as Anatoly Grishchenko said before he died "I did what I had to do, my childhood home was threatened".

The heroic sacrifices made by the firefighters, the technicians, the pilots and all the rest of the people who helped contain the nuclear disaster simply saved the world. No ifs and buts, we owe our lives to them. Yet how often do you see their names in the media? How many people do you know who can name them or even remember their sacrifice?

I for one salute their courage and sacrifice. There should be a memorial built to these heroes in every country across the globe.


Michael Bains said...

I just stumbled 'cross your blog via Blogger's "Next Blog" button.

Pay dirt!

Greschenko truly is one of this past century's greatest heroes and this is the first - the First! - time I've heard his name. Thank you for the notice.

My experience with thousands of people over the course of my 40 years leads me to think that people choose Heroes who are what they want to be. They'd rather praise George Best (or Bush or Michaels) because they'd rather have their fortune than be required to actually act heroically, and earn the accolades and honor.

It certainly helps explain the popularity of tyrant kings, hack musicians, semi-talented athlete's and Lotteries of all stripes.

I've added this site to my bookmarked list. Thanks again.

Peter Risdon said...

See also here for more about these extraordinary men.

A minor quibble: they did a very great thing, but the world wasn't in danger.