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Heroes provide a legacy

To the edtor:

“Anyone can be a hero — in these challenging times, we need many.

The definition of courage is the ability to overcome fear. It is having courage to tell the truth, courage to protect the vulnerable, courage to love unconditionally or even the courage to speak your mind. Courage to change a point of thought, with a selfless act of kindness.

None or all of these actions would define you as a hero — just a good person, possibly a great leader.

I was fortunate to have a conversation with a beautiful 92-year-old matriarch of our community. She welcomed me into her home, reminding me that kindness and respect, for generations, permitted all of us the knowledge of cultural acceptance and friendship.

Have we lost the cornerstone of our upbringing? Do we no longer have compassion or consideration for our fellow man? Is this our reality, to hate first, and ask questions later?

My heroes, would never have allowed me to accept the current environment as a tolerable reality.

My heroes taught me to uplift, to protect, to listen, to teach and to lead all.

This beautiful woman could not hear my voice, but we were able to communicate with smiles, and stories of a gentle time gone past. She brought to the conversation a passion for respect that demanded attention. Greatness is a presence of a loving soul.

A role model of a woman, the wisdom and authority, exuded in her life of service and the pursuit of justice. I knew I wanted to grow up to be just like her.

We must look around us for the good in people — there are many, many more good people than not. We must listen to find what is of common ground. We must respond and react in like kind, for the better.

The Great John Lewis was a hero.

This man lived a brave life of service. He was brave when he risked his own safety to demand human rights and to uphold justice, not only for African Americans but for all Americans. He did so by speaking the truth. He did so by listening to the needs of others, and stirring up “good trouble.” He taught us to be prideful of this great nation and in unity we will continue to prosper as one family in one house for one nation. He only knew the humility of unconditional love. He had the courage to change the minds and many the heart of people who now were honored to have known him.

My heroes — our legacy.

So I will ask the hard questions:

• Are all of the hurtful, hateful words and behaviors who we really are as a people?

• What will we accomplish as human beings if we continue the current path of diversity?

• How do we justify to our children the idiocy of self-destructive behavior?

The intelligent answer is easy.

Maureen Howard

Toronto

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