The Real Heroes of the World

LETTER NO. 67 - JUNE, 1916

Though my letter is dated the first of the month it was written earlier of course--in fact, the evening before "Decoration Day," the day when all patriotic Americans are supposed to honor the dead heroes who fought for the integrity of the Union.

As I thought over the matter it occurred to me that it seems always to require a calamity or a catastrophe to make me forget self and rise to the call of a cause or to the need of the occasion regardless of consequences. They always respond in war, earthquake, fire, or shipwreck.

But why should it require such cataclysmic events to bring out the virtue of self-sacrificing service when they are needed every day and hour in every home, hamlet, and city? The world would be so much better off if we did our noble deeds daily instead of only on occasion of exceptional stress. It may be noble to die for a great cause, but it is surely nobler to live a life of self-sacrifice, covering many years, cherishing others and helping them to be better and nobler, than to die in the attempt to kill a fellow being.

There is many a father who struggles years and years to give his children what he terms "a chance in life." There are thousands of mothers who toil a lifetime at "hard labor" to aid in this work for the young. There are millions of such heroes who are never heard of because they helped their fellows to live instead of causing them to die.

Is this not an anomaly--that we honor an army of men for more than half a century because they killed, killed, killed, while that greater army which fostered all that is best on earth lie forgotten in their graves?

As followers of Christ, let us pay tribute to the heroes and heroines who through years of suffering fought for others by rendering tender care in childhood's helpless days, by unflagging service in times of sickness, by patient participation in poverty and in any and every trouble that might befall.

Nor let us wait till they have passed to the beyond, but let us honor them here and now. Neither should we set one day in the year apart for the payment of such tribute, but we should honor them every day of our lives, and we should seek to lighten their burdens by emulating their noble deeds.

How shall we find them? they wear no uniform, neither do they wear their hearts upon their sleeves. They are everywhere, and if we seek we shall find them. The quicker we join their ranks, the sooner we shall honor ourselves by lightening their burdens as it becomes all true servants of the Master. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."