How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world... Anne Frank
Miep Gies, the woman who helped to hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, died today at 100 years old. Since reading The Diary of Anne Frank for the first time when I was in elementary school, Miep Gies has been one of my heroes. Last year, when I read The Freedom Writers Diary, I came to admire her even more.
She never saw herself as a hero. Brimming with clarity and humility, she always said she only did what she believed was right. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? But she did it in the face of sheer evil; under the threat of death. She risked her own life to save someone else. I've often wondered if tested, I would demonstrate that same sort of courage. I'm not so sure.
I'm sad to know she's gone but I'm ever so grateful she was here. And I know that although she became famous because of the diary, there were many, many people who exemplified the same sort of courage and humility; whose names and faces were never known to people other than those they helped. I know those sorts of people have existed through time and across continents. The world is full of them right now, though so many of us choose to glorify sports figures and actors, musicians and reality television personalities instead.
So I challenge each of you to find and honor your personal hero. I challenge each of you to seek out the true heroes in your community; in our society - the people who simply do what is right; who live with humility; who serve the common good; who teach and rescue and protect and heal; who do it all without glory or reward.
And then? Let's just say 'thank you'.
Thank you, Miep Gies... for simply doing what was right and helping the world to see that, in the words of a little girl who saw more beauty and truth within the confines of an attic than many of us see in the whole wide world, "...our lives are all different and yet the same."