Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pearl Harbor Reflections: Unrecorded Heroism

Two trips to Hawaii for work in the last three months have each given me the privilege of visiting the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites park. Both experiences were very moving, with new sections of the sites being explored each time. This part of our country's history is something I've known of but not about. Like sitting down with a person you've known for months and being amazed after finally hearing their story, the history of Pearl Harbor feels new to me. Intriguing and fascinatingly new, the type of place you keep thinking back to, even days after being back home. Hence, this first post of others to follow.

The Reflection Circle is located toward the southern end of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites park. Standing in the middle of its ring, you are able to look out over the area where the devastation occurred 71 years ago. Across the water on the other side of the harbor the USS Missouri is docked. It stands guard over its neighbor, the USS Arizona memorial. Of the 2,402 who died in the Pearl Harbor attacks, 1,177 of them were on the Arizona when it was bombed. The mental jarring your mind takes from contemplating everything from this vantage point make it easy to understand why it is called the Reflection Circle. 

From the middle of the Reflection Circle you also see, along its inside wall, quotes from various military personnel about 12/7/41. Like a prompter giving an actor forgotten lines, they fill in what you would be thinking (or should be) while in the middle of the circle.

One such quote comes from Alvin H. Bruene, a gunner's mate on the USS Arizona:

Heroism does not need to be recorded.
Heroism does not need to be referenced.
Heroism does not need to be credited. 

Heroism just helps. 

It intervenes, it advocates, it speaks up, it pitches in, it toils, whatever the cost, regardless of who knows about it. That's how it should be. 

And we need more heroes.

We need more people who serve and help and do their best, caring less about rewards, book deals, tax credit, and resume building. In a Hollywood, sport celebrity, and mega-church world, there needs to be more people who care less about being the best and more about being the best they are able to be. More people who care less about being known and more about knowing how to help.

For the person who follows Jesus, your name is irrelevant. It isn't your name that you want to be known anyway. Being a hero in this context is loving your neighbor as yourself, whatever that should mean or cost.

I don't have a national tragedy before me like Alvin Bruene did. But I do have opportunities before me with outcomes that will echo and ripple forward for a long time.

How can I be a hero to Jeannette?
How can I be a hero to Baylee and Jaxon?
How can I be a hero to NLLP?

These are the questions I'm asking myself this morning.

What does being a hero today look like?

"Any Christian who isn't a hero is a pig." - Leon Bloy

 "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." - Colossians 3:23

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