Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Faces of Heroism

Today I talked to the widow of a long dead scientist. I explained that I was researching materials for a book She confided in me that her husband had worked on the first atomic bomb. She said she only found out after her husband had died, and she found out from another scientist. She did not even know her husband had gone to Los Alamos, New Mexico to the test site. It was all a deep, dark secret in those days.

The scientist told the widow how ashamed her husband had been for accomplishing his work so well.

The story of this scientist reminded me that heroism and patriotism take many forms. A person might be afraid in the face of the enemy, or might lose an arm in an accident during battle, or might have to kill a large number of the enemy to protect his comrades. Or, he might help make a new, terrible weapon. But he does his duty, even though he might not feel so good about it later. That is the nature of heroism. Often it leaves scars.

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