Springingtiger's Blog


Quietly Passing
September 9, 2013, 21:58
Filed under: autism, disability, Justice, Politics, Scotland, success | Tags: , ,

When Martin Luther King Jr. died millions mourned, so will it be when Nelson Mandela leaves us. The passing of the famous does touch millions and they leave an obvious hole in our world. However these figureheads are ultimately a part of movement and not always its greatest part; some of the greatest heroes pass unnoticed by the public, press and media, but leave a gap as great as any left by our public heroes.

I was reflecting on one such hidden hero. She was never one to speak from a platform, however she was the one who organised the rallies, arranged the speakers, filled the halls, and drew in the press. She worked towards great goals, as someone said of her, “one case at a time”. When we are fighting for a broad principle it is easy to lose sight of the people affected. Our silent heroes never lose sight of the individual and their campaigning power lies with individuals. When people like Janice Fawkes and Stella Reekie asked you to do something, it was almost impossible to say, “no” despite being free to do so.  It is frequently these quiet heroes who provide the power and platform whereupon the leaders of history stand.

The quiet heroes may have brought into being movements, organisations and annual events like Scotland’s St. Andrew’s Day Rally, but their role is often overlooked because they promote not themselves, but the greater cause. It is the individuals who they have helped who remember and know who they are.

Frequently it is only after a hero’s death that one begins to understand their place in history, as the individuals whose lives they touched acknowledge them. It is only after their passing that the magnitude of their contribution becomes known, as their disparate interventions are revealed and the connections drawn. It is ironic that some of our greatest hero’s lives pass almost unremarked, but they would not have it any other way; for them it was enough to do what they did and they probably wished they had done more. They were content to labour and not to ask for any reward, they gave and did not count the cost, and sometimes the costs were great. Another one of these quiet heroes has quietly past. She will not be the last. There are others even now about you, and if you cannot see them, but you can see the need, perhaps the next quiet hero will be you.

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