Sunday, May 18, 2008

Timely Recognition

Do you know who should have won the Noble Peace Prize in 2007, instead of the joke that was the awarding to Al Gore? Irena Sendlerowa. You likely have never heard of Irena Sendlerowa. She died Monday in Warsaw. She was 98 years old.

She saved more than 2,500 lives during the Nazi occupation of Poland. A Catholic, Irena suffered horrific torture and risked her own life to save the lives of Jewish children during the certain death of the Holocaust. An organized Polish underground had formed the "Zegota" and Irena was a member. She posed as a nurse and, along with 20 other Poles, smuggle 2,500 Jewish children out of the ghetto of Warsaw.

The Poles gave the children Christian names and put them with Polish families as well as into orphanages and convents. The children were smuggled out to safety in ambulances, coffins, sacks and through the sewers and tunnels of Warsaw.

Sendlerowa was arrested by the Germans in 1943. She would tell them nothing, despite the torture of both broken legs and feet. That was real torture in hopes of getting the names of her helpers and the location of the children, not the alleged tortures of today's ACLU supporters.

She bribed a guard and was able to escape her death sentence. She went on to continue her work until the end of the war.

A woman who never sought recognition, she was honored in 1965 by Yad Vasem, Israel's Holocaust memorial. The Communists refused to allow her to travel to accept the award. She received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest civilian decoration in 2007. The same year she was nominated to win the Noble Peace Prize and supported mightily by Polish President Lech Kazynski. Instead of making up a reason to fawn over the phony science of Al Gore, a man neither intellectual nor brave, the Prize Committee should have disavowed politics and awarded a true hero. Yes, Al Gore went to service during Vietnam, but he did so with a typewriter and with Secret Service protection at the insistence of his Senator father. That's a different kind of 'bravery'.

"Every child saved with my help and the help of all the wonderful secret messengers, who today are no longer living, is the justification of my existence on this earth, and not a title to glory."

At a time when Barack Obama brags on his campaign web site that he is the only candidate to promise to sit down with any rogue nation's leader, without preconditions, Irena's story is particularly timely. At a time when ideas on torture are a political football, Irena's story is particularly timely.

A new kind of Hollywood actor, and a part time musician, Gary Sinise and his "Lt. Dan Band" performed to a standing room only crowd in the courtyard of the Pentagon Friday. It was billed as "Rocking at the Pentagon" and it was in honor of the 4th Annual America Supports You Military Tribute Concert, part of Military Appreciation Month. The concert was also televised live to the troops overseas. The Lt. Dan reference dates back to Sinise's role in the movie, "Forrest Gump".

Soldiers, family members, civilians and veterans packed the courtyard for the concert. The music was a mix of rock, pop, and country music. Clapping, arm waving and feet tapping on the ground served as audience participation.

"It is very, very important that you know you are appreciated and that we're grateful and that we're not going to forget the sacrifices that you and your families make for our nation," he said. "We want everybody who is watching this around the world to know that we're here supporting you. We believe in you. We are depending on you. You are our volunteer defenders, and we never take that for granted."

Sinise went into the crowd as the end of the concert approached, dancing with the crowd. As he continued playing, he sat next to Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Stengel who was in the front row and asked how his recovery was going. "I thought it was awesome. I thought it was amazing," Stengel said. "It's a break for us to get away from the hospital scene. We're at the hospital going through therapy day in and day out. We kind of need a break."

Sinise played a bit of air guitar with Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Rene Rubiella, a member of the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. He was at the Pentagon for the first time, to receive the President's Volunteer Service Award. He has volunteered for multiple tours of Iraq. "It's people like Gary that turn around and make us feel that we are appreciated and that we are loved and that there is a commitment from our nation that we are not forgotten," Rubiella said. "I am so grateful that people take the time to commit, to volunteer their time and put on these events for our entertainment. I had a ball," he said. "It just means the world to you. It reaches your heart." "I just think it's great what Gary does. I think he's a true patriot", said Army Lt. Col. Scott Turner. "I'm very hopeful that he's reflective of all the men and women of the nation. And it's just great that he would take his time to come out and support the troops."

Maybe Barack Obama could explain his thoughts on talking to Halocaust deniers and the leader of the nation sending bombs and rockets into Iraq to kill our soldiers. And the claims of the appeasement crowd that we are not safer now? No attacks on our soil since 9/11/2001. Period.


Beverly said...

I read about that dear lady earlier this week. What a remarkable life! And to think that she was really not alone. There were others who hid the Jewish people at the risk of being caught, and some of them were.

Corrie TenBoom and her sister spent time in concentration camps for having hid people in their home in Holland. Corrie survived the camp (through a clerical error.) Her sister did not.

Nikki said...

WOW, LOVE this post...Sure does make the peace prize look pretty bad, especially since Jimmy Carter is also a recipiant. I imagine that those who are truly seeking peace and proving it with their lives will be duly rewarded. What a tribute and once again someone I have never heard of. excellent as always...Pondering Penguins is one of my favorite reads! :)N

Paul is a Hermit said...

Thanks, Karen.

Incognito said...

great post, Karen... and there were plenty of others inlcuding Stengel who deserved it more than Gore the bore.