• Robert Smalls was born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina.  And at age 12, his master...
  • Alaska Airline flight attendant Shelia Fedrick didn’t board the plane that fateful day in 2011...
  • In the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the...
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Sailing to Freedom

Robert Smalls was born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina.  And at age 12, his master hired him out to business associates in Charleston where Smalls worked in a hotel, and later as a lamplighter.  But his real love was the sea, so he found a way to work on the docks, then as a rigger and a sail maker, and eventually as a wheelman (basically a pilot, although slaves were not allowed to hold that title).

Not All Angels Wear Wings

Alaska Airline flight attendant Shelia Fedrick didn’t board the plane that fateful day in 2011 thinking she’d become a hero.  But soon after the flight from Seattle to San Francisco took off, Fedrick noticed the young girl with dishevelled clothing and greasy-blonde hair.  She looked like she’d been through hell.  Next to her was a well-dressed, much older man.  Fedrick’s instincts told her something was wrong, so she attempted to strike up a conversation with the two.  The girl remained silent while the man became defensive.  At that point, Fedrick devised a p

Camping at Manzanar

In the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the involuntary internment of more than 110,000 men, women and children of Japanese heritage.  Most Americans considered this a necessary measure to protect the United Sates from further attacks.  But 16 year-old Ralph Lazo was not one of them. Lazo watched as his Japanese-American friends began to be shipped to Manzanar---the relocation site nearest his home.  And as summer vacation arrived, the young man decided he had to act. 

D Day and Us

 74 years ago today, more than 160,000 Allied soldiers stormed 50 miles of Normandy coastline, to strike a decisive blow for freedom.  60% of those men were killed or injured before they even reached the shore, and 10,000 would not live to see nightfall on June 6th---D-Day.

Heroes You Should Know: Stetson Kennedy

 Stetson Kennedy was a man of the South---a white man, from a well-to-do family, and a descendant of plantation-owning signers of the Declaration of Independence and Confederate officers.  He could have easily hid snuggly in his comfort zone, and avoided the pressing racial issues that festered all around him.  But that’s not what he chose to do.

Heroes You Should Know: Robin Emmons

 The call can come from anywhere at any time---to leave what you know for something…more.  You don’t have to go looking for the call, you just have to be listening.In 2008, 39 year-old Robin Emmons made the decision to leave her job of twenty years in the financial services industry.  She didn’t know what she was meant to do, but she did know that banking was no longer it.  It took all of one week for her to find a new direction.

Frederick Mayer: Leader of the Real ‘Inglourious Basterds’

 In 2009 Quentin Tarantino made Inglourious Basterds, a fantasy revenge movie about a group of Jewish American soldiers in World War II whose sole purpose was to kill Nazis.  But in yet another example of truth being stranger than fiction, I give you Sergeant Frederick Mayer, leader of Operation Greenup and the inspiration behind the real ‘Inglorious Basterds’. 

The Gubbio Project

 St. Francis of Assisi was known as a peacemaker, and his talents reached mythic proportion.  One example is the story of the peace agreement he brokered between the townspeople of Gubbio and a ravenous wolf---helping all parties realize that through communication, common ground could be discovered and community found. 

Heroes You Should Know: The Syrian Santa

 Most children would identify Santa’s home as the North Pole, but there is growing evidence that it might actually be in Finland.  Because that’s where 44 year-old Rami Adham lives. 

In the beginning....

In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I am posting the introduction to the book Jenni and I wrote about life with John Michael, entitled Hidden Graces.  Now 22 years-old, John Michael has become my “professor of love”—he is a gift I could never have imagined or deserved.  He is beautiful in every way, and the world is blessed to have him in it. “Whatever did not fit in with my plandid lie within the plan of God.”-St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross 

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