Ten Moments in Real Manhood
Posted by Hal in Civilization, Courage, Heroes

Since the annual “Year in Review” and “Top Ten” articles are appearing in the media this week, I thought I’d take a quick look at ten stories that illustrate what it means to be a real man – or what can happen when you abandon that ideal.  These may not be the biggest and greatest examples, but I found them interesting.

EXCELLENCE – The Miracle on the Hudson: Decades of training and practice saved the lives of 155 people when Capt. Cheseley Sullenburger successfully landed his crippled airliner in the only clear spot in downtown Manhattan – the Hudson River.  A man who committed himself to doing his job right, and in the most stressful situation possible, did the right thing without losing his cool.

IMMATURITY – The Death of Michael Jackson: An entertainment phenomenon but a man who never really grew up, who surrounded himself with other people’s children, built his own amusement park, and made and squandered fortunes pursuing a Peter Pan ideal of never-ending childhood – and a bizarre one, at that.

COURAGE – You Do What You Have To Do: When a gunman opened fire in a nursing home, killing seven residents and a staff member, Officer Justin Garner of the Carthage (N.C.) Police Department entered the building and confronted the heavily armed suspect in a hallway, exchanging fire in a face-to-face showdown that left the killer wounded and under arrest.  Garner was the only officer on duty in the small town that Sunday morning.

LUST AND DECEPTION – This Life Will Self-Destruct in Five, Four, Three … : Tiger Woods was the model of a professional athlete – fantastic skill in competition, fantastic wealth from his commercial endorsements, and a squeaky clean reputation.  A really nice guy, just like South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford.  The governor was a social and fiscal conservative, proponent of school choice, family man and churchgoer.  There was talk of national opportunities, either for a presidential bid or as a strong VP candidate.

But both of them were caught in long-term adulterous affairs that not only wrecked their families but have likely ended Sanford’s career and ruined Tiger’s financial empire.  Be sure your sin will find you out.

DECISIVENESS –  When Seconds Count: Dutch filmmaker Jasper Schuringa’s prompt action separated a terrorist from his bomb and helped extinguish the fire it had started, thus preventing the destruction of a Northwest Airlines plane in December.

WEAKNESS – Not A “Profile In Courage”: As the Senate considered a health care bill plagued with loopholes, special exemptions, and provisions still to be determined, one senator stood in the path blocking immediate passage – Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska).  Nelson, elected as a staunch pro-life candidate, refused to vote with his party if the bill did not include language blocking federal funding of abortion, like the Stupak amendment passed by the House.  After several weeks of principled opposition, Nelson suddenly rolled over in exchange for federal funding of his state’s Medicaid responsibilities.

SELF-SACRIFICE – Greater Love Hath No Man: Somali pirates stormed the Maersk Alabama off the coast of Africa.  Captain Richard Phillips persuaded them to release his 19-man crew and take him as their sole hostage.  He was rescued by Navy SEALs four days later.

OPTIMISM – Let Your Mind Dwell On These Things: Legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey died this year, finishing a 70-year career in radio and TV.  Harvey not only reported straight-up news but delighted in celebrating faithful marriages, sharing stories with uplifting themes, and honoring everyday heroes and humanitarians.  His syndicated radio programs reached over 25 million listeners each week with thoughtful and encouraging commentary.

GREED – More More More: Financier Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison after conviction for running an investment scam worth over $65 billion. Notable among his thousands of individual victims were a number of religious charities.  With his understanding of financial markets, how much legitimate good could he have done?

VIRTUE – Why the Surprise? University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow startled reporters at a July press conference when one asked whether he was “saving himself for marriage” and he confidently replied “Yes, I am.”  When the reporter was too surprised to ask his follow on question, Tebow laughed and said, “I was ready for that question. I don’t think y’all were.”  The son of Christian missionaries has taken many public stands for traditional values and the Gospel.

Photo courtesy of Greg L., Wikimedia Commons