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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Real Heroes Are Quiet

Have you ever known a guy who talked constantly about his exploits in the military and in combat? Some guy who was a Recon Marine, then got bored and joined the Army and was in Special Forces, and then decided he wanted to be Delta Force because they needed someone to teach them proper tactics? A hint to those who don't know better, those people are full of it.

I don't mean the guy, like me, who is justifiably proud of his service. I am proud to have served my country, proud to be a combat vet who stood up and did what I had to do when I had to do it, and who wants his children to respect the sacrifice of our military and our veterans so I make sure to tell them about such sacrifice. I mean the guy who wants the world to think that he is Rambo.

The most humble and quiet people I have ever known are those people who can walk the walk, but do it without the talk. Guys who have done things and been places where they shouldn't be and no one will acknowledge any of it. Guys who probably can kill you a thousand different ways.

The real heroes are the quiet ones. People like Paul Newman, who is the main subject of this post, who just gave away an entire lifetime of fortune building for a charity. Newman, who has quietly been diagnosed with lung cancer and who treats the disease like everything else in his personal life - quietly - has given away his $120 million fortune to a charity. Apparently the gift was arranged before he knew he was ill, and he did it to celebrate his 80th birthday. How different than the way most of us live our lives. We become irritable when our spouse didn't take the hint that we wanted a new iPod for our birthday, or a new flat screen monitor for Father's Day, or a day at the spa for Mother's Day. Newman gave away a lifetime of work to celebrate his own birthday.

Here is a paragraph from the article:

According to Newman’s Own federal tax filing for 2006, the actor personally gave away $8,746,500 to a variety of groups that support children, hurricane relief in the Gulf Coast, education and the arts.

What more can be said?


7 Posts From Readers:

The Beltway B@stard said...

I always thought he would make a good president. Then again, he would probably make to much sense in a country accustomed to being lied to.

rockync said...

There are some truly incredible people in this world who really get it. Life isn't about what we can amass, although we waste a lot of time doing just that. The real richness of life is in what we give back - our money, our time, our compassion, our love, our guidance. The Bible says it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. I guess people like Newman have figured out that giving it all away before they die eliminates that problem. As I have gotten older, the lesson unfolds; we only pass this way once so what am I saving for? Later? No guarantee there will be a later. Living and loving each day to the fullest - now that is true richness.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I read a bumper sticker once that said "He who has the most toys when he dies, wins."

Wrong.

He who gives his wealth to those who need it most wins.

Paul Newman is a winner.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Happy Fathers Day to ya! :)

Wadical said...

I've known both types. I knew a guy who told everyone he was a Navy SEAL...the "Trident" ever visible on his shirts and hats and vehicles, but couldn't tell me what BUDS class he was in. It's easy enough to check and see, so I did. Not surprisingly, he was never even in the Navy.

I also know a paramedic who was a Spec-Ops Corpsman with 1st Force Reconnaisance, and 2nd FAST Company, who is exactly as you describe. You'd never even know he was in the military at all if you sat around waiting on him to break out a "war story". He discusses his experiences only with those whome he trusts. But he doesn't take himself very seriously or swagger around with a false sense of bravado. He knows he has nothing to prove to anyone. He speaks mostly and most proudly of the comradarie he developed with his brothers in combat and of the heroic acts of OTHERS he was fortunate to know or witness. But never of his own heroic acts despite having been impressively decorated. He will be quick to tell you that while a person joins the military to "serve their country", when the time comes for one to go above and beyond their call of duty, they do so "for the man beside them" not for glory, or decorations or stories to impress the impressionable.

Still lurking. Will check back with you soon.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Hey Wadical, good to see you lurking about! You are on target with your comments and it sums it up better than I did in the post.

My wife and I were not together during my Marine Corps time, and she doesn't understand the concept, really. I don't tell many war stories unless I am sitting around with others who served. I talk about experiences - like going 70+ days without a shower in the desert, and wearing the same BDUs for seven months, and other such things, but the war parts are left to cold brews and brothers.

Your friend is right- one may join to serve but the guys serving do so for their buddy next to them.

Don't be a stranger!

MissBossyPants said...

I am familiar with Paul Newman from my days with the SCCA, and he is indeed a stand-up guy. He knows you can't take it with you.

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