A Time of Opportunity
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The Spectator
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 by Frank Shortt
2020 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved

Throughout the ages there have arisen times of trial among mankind that would try the moral fiber of those living at that time! There have been those who rose to the challenge and went on, in the face of much opposition, to do exploits of valor far beyond their physical capabilities. Then, there were the naysayers who became the thorns in the flesh of the ones doing the right thing at the right time.

Throughout history there have been wars, floods, fires, plagues upon mankind, attacks by countries against other countries, and countless other pestilences to cause the brave of heart to reach for higher ideals that their friends and neighbors might not have thought of.

Joan of Arc stepped forward in a supernatural way in the 1400’s to repel the British forces from France during the One Hundred Years War. She was called the Maid of Orleans because of the great victory at Orleans in 1429. The powers that be sentenced her to death by burning her at the stake in order to say ‘thank you’ to her.

Florence Nightingale saw an opportunity to serve wounded soldiers during the Crimean war. As she moved around the battle fields, under great opposition, seeing the grimy conditions of the field hospitals, she began to teach the orderlies proper cleaning methods, around the camp, as well as, keeping the wounds clean. She is called the founder of modern nursing. Up to that time whoever heard of a woman on the battlefield unless the woman was one of ill repute!

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and spent time in a West Virginia coal mine as a child but saw the need to train former slaves to be self-reliant. After much resistance from colleagues, as well as, those who could approve of his intentions, he went on to found Tuskeegee Institute for the purpose of teaching the Emancipated slaves and their descendants. He was turned on by colleagues because they thought his ways were too peaceful and took too long to accomplish. A prophet is without honor among his own people! They should have listened to Mr. Washington!

Marie Curie researched radioactivity when Xray was needed. She died of Aplastic Anemia from exposure to radium and polonium, the two elements she had invented. She also was awarded the Nobel Prize in both Chemistry and Physics. Her research was not without antagonism!

George Washington Carver saw a need to help farmers improve production. His research on soil depletion aided farmers tremendously while he was a professor at Tuskeegee Institute. He was not without disapproval from the scientific world!

Harriet Tubman saw the plight of slaves on southern plantations. After escaping slavery herself, she married a freedman and began promoting the Underground Railroad to free other slaves. She used her own money to help free over 300 slaves. She has been called one of the most remarkable women ever. She carried scars on her back from being beaten with whips because of her efforts!

Alvin York , when asked to serve during WW1, first registered as a conscientious objector. He was later convinced that he could truly serve his country by being an example to others. He went on to France to fight in the trenches and began a systematic routine of bringing in German prisoners. He was one of the most decorated soldiers in that war and when asked why he brought in prisoners instead of shooting them, he replied, “We are to save lives, not take them!” His methods were questioned by his superiors and fellow soldiers alike. Why don’t we all choose to save lives instead of take lives?

Today, we are faced with two great plagues. One is the plague of racism that has come in like a flood. The other is the plague of Covid-19 that has ravaged, not only America, but the whole world. Who will be the ones to rise up with the highest of ideals to combat these two great plagues?

It has always been those who were willing to sacrifice themselves in order that others might have a better quality of life. They faced the storms of criticism that always comes against one who loves other lives more than their own. What else could cause a person to reach out to all humanity and do deeds, which were sometimes supernatural, unless it was for love of their fellow human beings?

Is this the time for the small remnant of society, who care for others more than they care for themselves, to climb the heights to the highest ideals of sacrifice. Or, will we sit around and complain while we have the greatest opportunity ever presented in the 21st Century to manifest love and kindness to those who appear to be unloved? My mom always told me that “Honey draws more flies than vinegar”! So true!