“It was back to that perfectly anonymous thing, and it was a concept never discussed but shared by us all. You’ve never heard of us. No one has.”
-Quote from, “Single Harness”
History books are filled with legends and heroes. Individuals who led with unparalleled valiancy, who performed feats of bravery, and who sacrificed in such a way as to never be forgotten. This category of person includes the likes of Abraham Lincoln, who in one of history’s great speeches said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” The irony of course was that the world did remember, and we remembered not just what they did, but what Lincoln did as well.
There are also other lesser known people like Meriwether Lewis, whose acts of stunning courage and fortitude in his march west, freed the heart of every explorer’s self made boundaries and showed them it was possible to do what they thought was nearly impossible.
Then there are the more “common” people. Like those found on the airplane bound for the heart of our nation one September day who decided, at great cost to themselves, that they could not bear evil destroying the thing they obviously loved.
Because of their extraordinary acts, these people have earned themselves sentences, paragraphs, and even pages in the hallowed history books of the world. And to these rarified humans, history rightfully pays special homage.
And yet, there exists another category of people. A category that is never spoken of, lauded, or memorialized simply because no one ever knew. Anonymous people who do great acts on the level of a true “hero”, are the most mysterious and oddly satisfying kind of people. To be sure history requires both- the person who is memorialized and the one who is not. But the funny thing about those who are not, is that almost every time they meant it to be that way. In fact, in a world that technology has made increasingly small, everyone knows culture’s valiant few. Yet for the anonymous, their names will never grace a news report or find their way into the living room of the average family. But all the while there is something quite stunning and refreshing about this. That there are those among us who commit praiseworthy acts of varying degrees with zero expectation of reward, celebration, or glory. That somehow their intention was simply to do good. The anonymous hero speaks to the deeper nobility, the more significant truth inside us all.
So to those among us who have been the heroes that history will never know, we thank you and express the deepest amount of gratitude possible for not just being a hero, but being a hero who remained anonymous. Whose concern in those golden moments, was not for themselves but for those they came to help.