Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Hero for Our Time: Or Many Heroes

My first hero of 2018 is Emmanuel Mensah, who died attempting to rescue people from a burning apartment building last month. He's come to our attention now, being widely cited on social media and in the news, because he's one of many notably heroic immigrants from countries derided by the Chief Executive in a recent burst of profanity. He's one of many from these countries who have made valuable contributions to the nation and to humanity.

This duality: the quality of immigrants from the insulted countries and the President's vulgar dismissal of them, was cited (among many other articles in many sources) by the Editorial Board of the Washington Post in an article titled: "‘Shithole’ wasn’t the most offensive part of Trump’s Haiti comments" published January 12, 2018. Extract from the article:
"What is most offensive in the president’s comment on immigration to a group of senators on Thursday is not the vulgarity. 'Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?' Trump said, referring to Haiti and countries in Africa and Central America. 'Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.' What is most offensive is not even the insult to other nations, though that is certainly unacceptable from a president of the United States.
"No, what should sadden every American is to have someone living in the White House with so little respect for the courage of women and men who have been coming here from 'shithole' countries for centuries — and who have built the United States into the great nation it is today. ...
"Shortly after The Post reported Mr. Trump’s comment, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol reminded us on Twitter of Emmanuel Mensah, who immigrated from Ghana five years ago and joined the Army National Guard. He was home in the Bronx last month when a devastating fire broke out in his apartment building; he lost his life as he rescued others. 'He brought four people out,' his uncle, Twum Bredu, who lives next door, told the New York Times. 'When he went to bring a fifth person out, the fire caught up with him.'
"Most Americans understand how fortunate we are to attract such heroes to our shores."
And in an article in the New York Times,  a bit more about this hero:
"A few days ago, the Army posthumously awarded Mensah the Soldier’s Medal, its highest award for heroism outside of combat, and New York State awarded him its Medal for Valor. The citation on the state medal reads: 'His courageous and selfless act in the face of unimaginable conditions are consistent with the highest traditions of uniformed service.'"

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