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Remember All The Heroes ...

What makes someone a hero?

There are the obvious ones, of course, whose bravery saves lives, or whose athletic feats astound; but I imagine many of us have a few unsung heroes – people we’ve encountered whose names we may not even know.

I was in Paris in September 2001 and, a couple days after the 11th, I made my way to Le Cimetiere des Chiens, the cemetery of dogs and other pets. It’s in a suburb northwest of Paris and overlooks the Seine. I took a train and then a long walk to get there.

When I arrived, I was happy to see a bench at the entrance. After a few minutes I noticed about a half dozen cats (live ones) had joined me – perching on the back of the bench and sitting on top of my backpack.

As I started wandering through the rows of tombstones and monuments, an elderly woman arrived with grocery bags full of food for the cats. We spoke and, when she realized I was from the U.S., she embraced me.

Even though I couldn’t understand what she was saying, I knew she was expressing her sincere grief for the horrific violence that had taken place in my country. Then she took me by the hand and led me to a grave she thought I should see, being an American – that of Rin Tin Tin!

I was deeply touched by the generosity of spirit this woman shared with me and think of her from time to time, but especially now since her city is suffering from that rage and hate that is unfathomable. Thank goodness for our heroes, famous or unsung.

I’m Paula Garrett, and that’s my perspective.