In all of the media coverage of the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, a couple of stories made a particular impact on me. They’re stories of ordinary folks, displaying an extraordinary sense of responsibility. They’re doing what they do, no matter what.
A special platoon within the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard, pulls duty guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has done so for 75 years now. Guards were actually stationed 12 years prior, but round-the-clock sentries weren’t put in place until 1937. This soldier is flawlessly uniformed (their gig line is unsatisfactory if it’s more than 1/64” out of alignment) and ‘Walks The Mat’ without regard to weather, security threats, etc…”Post and orders remain as directed.”
Late last week, when the path of the hurricane became more predictable, the crew of HMS Bounty, a 180-foot, three-masted tall ship (and replica of the famed British vessel) put to sea from New London, CT, in order to escape the fury of the storm. Ship to shore communications over the weekend indicated that they had successfully skirted the worst of the storm. We now know that she began to take on water, her bilge pumps failed, and she foundered and sank early Monday morning, about 90 miles off the North Carolina coast. One crew member is dead, and the Captain remains missing as of this writing. They could have left the ship in port and sought shelter, but these dedicated sailors knew that their ship was safer at sea than in port, where the gale force winds would surely have wrecked her against the pier. That’s not what sailors do, though.
The list of things that I would do, no matter what, is mostly limited to extreme (and I hope unlikely) circumstances regarding imminent dangers to my family. It’s inspiring, though, that brave and dedicated souls such as these serve as examples for us all. No matter what.
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