Today I read a story of a Japanese consulate official who was based in Germany before the rise of Hitler, and how he processed hundreds of visas to let Jewish people in Germany transit through Japan to escape. His superiors all forbade him to do so.
“I told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was a matter of humanity. I did not care if I lost my job. Anyone else would have done the same thing if they were in my place.” —Chiune Sugihara via NYT
It triggered my memory of the story of Peter Norman who appears in the famous photo with two African American athletes with raised fists in the 1968. Norman gave his full support to the athletes, and was banned from the Australian Olympics team thereafter.
“It has been said that sharing my silver medal with that incident on the victory dais detracted from my performance. On the contrary. I have to confess, I was rather proud to be part of it.’ —Peter Norman via CNN
Both of these two extraordinary figures’ lives did not go the way that you would expect when they did the right thing. It wasn’t until years later that they were recognized for their heroism.
This reminded me of when George Michael passed, and how it was noted that he was always doing philanthropic things outside of the media’s view. Michael was often villified in the media, and he could easily have pointed to all the good he was doing for random individuals who needed help.
“Everyone’s got really pissed off listening to celebrities patting each other on the back saying how generous they are being. And they are right to.” —George Michael via NPR
Conclusion: A lot of folks out there have lived their lives in ways that are truly inspiring. So, it’s worthwhile to keep them in mind as you go about your life. It certainly helps me. (smile) —JM