Posts Tagged ‘Courage’

Japan’s Nuclear Heroes

Amidst the uncertainty and potential of a nuclear catastrophe the world has never seen on such a scale, there are selfless heroes working at great personal risk at this hour to contain the specter of unspeakable disaster. Someday the story will emerge of the heroic fight that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

It is a horrendous irony that the only people to have suffered the brunt of a nuclear attack during World War II, should be the ones having to cope with the nuclear dangers that have been unleashed in the wake of Friday’s 9.0 earthquake. And among the brave and suffering Japanese people right now are an estimated 50 safety workers toiling at great personal risk to contain and prevent a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima reactor #2.

The story is changing by the hour but what Monday night looked like the sure unfolding of a calamity has now stabilized somewhat as spiking radiation levels near the plant have come down considerably. These Japanese safety workers look for all the world like the first responders of 9/11. They are almost certainly sacrificing their lives, through either further explosions (and there have already been three at the plant including one at reactor #2) or acute radiation poisoning.

Their continued presence offers hope. The implications, if they should have to leave, are bleak. From the New York Times:

If all workers do in fact leave the plant, the nuclear fuel in all three reactors is likely to melt down, which would lead to wholesale releases of radioactive material — by far the largest accident of its kind since Chernobyl.

Tokyo, with a population near 13 million, and one of the largest cities on the planet Earth, is just 170 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Though radiation readings there have recently abated, the city government reported Monday that they had occasionally exceeded normal levels by 20 times.

For the Japanese people, many lives are depending on the success of those 50 brave souls working at great peril for the greater good at the Fukushima plant. Besides them, only the fickle direction of the wind may determine who eventually gets sick, who dies and who lives.

A Very Special Evening Honoring Courage

March 5, 2010 4 comments

The Radio Television Digital News Foundation held it’s 20th anniversary dinner last night at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington.   It honored individuals in broadcasting who fight the good fight to make the 1st Amendment to the Constitution more than just words.

The highlight for me came when CBS News Radio Vice President and dear friend, Harvey Nagler, received his award for his 40 years of service toward that end and graciously put the spotlight, not on himself, but on his brave and couragious correspondent, and also my dear friend, Cami McCormick.   Cami attended the dinner, one of her first public appearances since she narrowly escaped death and survived an IED attack in Afghanistan last August.

Cami has never asked for the spotlight and I hope she won’t be upset that I am writing about last night’s event.  As Harvey recounted the scary and awful events of last summer, he paused in his speech, and as his voice cracked with understandable emotion, said he was going to do something he never thought would have been possible.  He asked Cami to stand and be recognized.   As a literal, bright spotlight shone on her, Cami confidently defied the odds one more time and mustered the strength to get up from her wheelchair and stand before the whole world on her injured legs.

It was a moment I will never forget.  A moment of victory for Cami, for free speech, for the courage it takes to risk life and limb to report the truth.   To literally stand for the 1st Amendment.

Cami has a “bumper sticker” on her Facebook wall that reads: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” 

Your strength continues to be an inspiration to us all, Cami.   We all love you so much.