Twenty years ago one of the most remarkable rally's for individual freedom in the post World War II era occurred in Communist China. This event preceded the fall of the Berlin Wall by nearly 6 months.
The end results were very different for Germany and China, but though China remains in the hands of an autocratic Communist government and the two Germany's are now one, the Tank Man, remains and will forever be, one of the greatest testaments to man's never ending yearning to breath free.
Remember those brave souls killed on 6/4/89 in Tiananmen Square, the "Tank Man", whenever you feel the urge to complain about how our system works.
Rescuer of 669 Holocaust Children Honored by Survivors Sir Nicholas Winton, Now 100, Greets Them Again on Train Platform By NICK WATT LONDON Sept. 4, 2009—
This morning a steam engine pulled into London's Liverpool Street Station. On board: 22 Holocaust survivors who had traveled 700 miles across Europe from Prague in the Czech Republic. And there to meet them on the platform: The man who saved their lives 70 years ago.
The last time they made this journey it was the late-summer of 1939. They were children, and the Nazi armies were advancing. In those tense times, 669 mainly Jewish children boarded specially chartered trains at Prague's Wilson Station, bound for England and safety.
"Our father was, when we were leaving, he was in the next room sobbing," Alice Masters told ABC News today on board during the final leg of the journey from the English coast.
Alice and her sister Josephine - sitting side by side as the train rattled towards London - never saw their parents again. "We had letters from them until 1942," Alice told us. "The last letter was March '42. And they were taken away to the concentration camp on June 6, 1942."
Hanna Slome, a sprightly 84-year old who eventually settled in New York, was just 14 when her mother dropped her at the station in Prague. Today Slome remembered the last words they exchanged: "She just said, 'I'm packing you up and you're going. And I'll be there. I promise you I'll be there.'" Her mother died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
This journey, Slome and other survivors said, on the 70th anniversary of their flight from Czechoslovakia is in memory of their parents, in memory of all those murdered by the Nazis, and in honor of the man who saved them from near certain death.
Back then Sir Nicholas Winton was an ordinary, fun-loving London stockbroker. But when he heard stories from friends in Prague of Jews losing their jobs and homes under Nazi occupation, Winton decided to do something.
Fearing that worse was to come, Winton decided to save as many Czech children as he could. He masterminded their incredible escape.
Winton raised money, begged the British government to grant visas, chartered the trains, forged papers, and found families in England to adopt the children.
Sir Nicholas Winton Is Now 100
In 1939 Winton was there on the platform to greet the children. This morning, now 100-years-old, he was waiting on the platform once again, frail, but still standing and leaning on a cane. He shook hands with each survivor as they got off the train.
"The trouble 70 years ago was getting them together with the people who were going to look after them," Winton said today. "I've got no responsibility this time."
Just the grateful thanks of the 669 he saved and their descendants. There are, they say, 7,000 of them scattered all over the world.
Girl in Iconic Vietnam War Photo Brings Message of Hope
HealthDay Reporter by Alan Mozes 2 hrs 30 mins ago THURSDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- It's a photo that many credit with helping to end the Vietnam War: A 9-year-old girl, naked and in obvious pain, runs through a street after suffering napalm burns over much of her body.
What the iconic photo -- snapped in 1972 by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut -- doesn't show is the girl's struggle to survive and thrive in the aftermath of that day.
Now 46 years old, Kim Phuc Phan Thai (Kim Phuc to most) spoke recently at a conference of burn survivors and burn care specialists in New York City on the physical and psychological struggle that she went through over the ensuing decades.
"Sixty-five percent of my body got burned," she said in an interview with HealthDay. The third-degree burns left her face untouched but sheared off every layer of skin on her back and left arm, leaving a legacy of permanent scars and recurring pain.
"I should be dead," Phuc said. "I got burned so deep I had to do skin grafts -- mostly from under my leg -- from the 35 percent of my skin that was OK. And from the beginning to the end, including physical therapy, I was in the burn unit in Saigon for about 14 months. And I had 17 operations. But I was spared," she added.
"So now I think, 'I cannot change something that happened to me already. But I can change the meaning."
Phuc has come far and is now a public speaker, peace activist, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, child welfare advocate, married mother of two, and inspiration to burn injury survivors worldwide. She lives in Toronto, her home since seeking political asylum in Canada in the early 1990s.
Phuc's message of hope resonated with many of those at the conference, held earlier this month by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, the nation's largest non-profit support and advocacy group for burn survivors. The conference was co-sponsored by the Hearst Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the NY Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.
Besides listening in on Phuc's speech, burn survivors could attend workshops designed to empower with practical information, such as make-up tips to enhance the appearance of affected skin, or hear other survivors' stories of personal triumph over pain.
For example, a number of firefighters and ex-military personnel spoke of their experiences with burn injuries during the course of their work. So did CBS journalist Kimberly Dozier, who was injured while reporting in the Middle East. They also heard from burn survivor and Iraq War veteran J.R. Martinez, currently an actor on the soap opera All My Children.
For her part, Phuc said the events that changed her young life are as vivid today as they were on June 8, 1972, when bombs rained down on her hometown of Trang Bang, north of Saigon.
"They saw that the temple will be next, and they told us to run," said Phuc, whose family had been hiding in the village temple grounds.
"I was in the middle of the group," remembered Phuc, "my brother, my sister, my cousin in front of me, my aunt, my uncles behind. And I stopped."
There was the sound of American bombs falling, "and after I saw the fire everywhere around me," Phuc said. "I was so scared. And all my clothes just burned off by the fire. And I saw all my burns. And people screaming: 'Nong qua! Nong qua!' 'Too hot! Too hot!'"
Two of Phuc's cousins died from injuries sustained in the bombing, but Kim was helped by photographer Ut, who helped her get medical attention at a South Vietnamese hospital. She then received more than a year of treatment at the American-funded Barsky Hospital in Saigon.
Phuc beat the odds and survived her ordeal. However, Hearst Burn Center director Dr. Roger Yurt stressed that burn care has improved dramatically in the years since. Patients with serious burns like Phuc now experience a "much more efficient, swifter, and improved treatment process," he said.
"Back in Kim Phuc's time, one usually would add the age of the patient to the amount of body surface that was burned in order to predict mortality," he explained. Using that formula, a 50-year-old patient with burns covering 50 percent of her body faced a nearly 100 percent chance of death.
"Today, however, that same patient would have a 50 percent survival rate -- a doubling of his or her chances," Yurt said. That's due to better anesthetics, better nutrition and respiratory care, as well as more careful monitoring of cardiac function, he said.
The advent of artificial skin products, not available in the 1970s, has also revolutionized skin-graft surgery when used in conjunction with actual skin tissue, Yurt added.
There are also many more burn-care facilities in the United States today. According to the Phoenix Burn Society, over 140 specialized facilities now care for the more than 500,000 Americans who seek medical treatment for burn injuries each year.
Yurt called that a "major advance, because back in the 1970s we would have to send burn patients from New York City, for example, all the way to the army burn center in San Antonio to get treatment. Now we can treat them quickly, right here."
But the single most important change in burn care has been a paradigm shift in the way doctors approach treatment, he said.
"In years past we were concerned about operating too early because patients were so unstable," Yurt said. "We now realize that early and aggressive intervention is actually critical," he explained.
"This has meant that skin grafting has become much more successful, while the occurrence of wound infections has dropped off dramatically," the expert said. "The long-range outcome is much, much better."
Still, Phuc said the legacy of her own wounds linger.
"I still have pain," she said. "Because my nerves are really damaged. They don't work well. So pain in one area spreads everywhere I got burned."
Healthy eating, exercise and an upbeat attitude help her focus away from the pain when it does come, however. And Phuc said that even the pain has its reward.
"The pain I consider as my protection. It humbles me, and helps me to never take my life for granted," she said. "And to share my story
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.
Be alert to give service. What counts a great deal in life is what we do for others. Anonymous
This is from 9-11. It's firefighters carrying out another firefighter. I know it's not exactly in keeping with the title of this thread. Still...
Ah Webby - you are mistaken. It is exactly in keeping with the title of the thread. The loss of the one brought many together as one.
And Rosa's post - the suffering of one lone little girl helped bring a nation to its senses about a war no longer worth the cost, and in "healing" her injuries brought some doctors to use their skills to their highest levels.
Sacrafice of self for others, either intentionally, or in the end only is indeed the greatest gift of all
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi