The Real Heroes are Dead

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There are certain people that I think about at least every month who have made an impact on my life, what I think, and who I am–from those who are close to me and others are famous figures.

Some are obvious, like my family. The next genre, perhaps, is unsurprising. People like Levi, Mother Teresa, Bob Bonanducci, and others.

And then others still are relatively unknown, and I knew of them from some reading or study. Rick Rescorla is one of those people.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, in the last few weeks I’ve been going through lots of old papers and files, some of which contain stories and articles from years back. This was one of those transformational articles to me, and an incredible lesson in courage and leadership. It’s so good, I thought to post it on here.

Note that this was published in the New Yorker, but that it also contains a bit of strong language. So reader beware.

It’s an amazing love story between two people, as well as a look into the heart and composure of an exceptional leader. And it’s also a heck of a long article, but so worth the read.

The Real Heroes are Dead
As Susan Greer was walking her golden retriever one morning near her home, in Morristown, New Jersey, she heard footsteps behind her. It was just after six, on a warm Saturday in late July of 1998; she liked the quiet and the early-morning light. The footsteps came closer, and then a jogger passed her. He was tall and somewhat heavy, and appeared to be about her age—she was fifty-six. What really caught her attention was his feet. He had no shoes on. It wasn’t like her to say anything to a stranger, but curiosity overcame her, and she asked, “What are you doing jogging in your bare feet?”
The jogger didn’t stop, or even turn around. “I need to know what it feels like to run without shoes,” he shouted, and explained that he was writing a play, and it was set in Africa. Then he was out of earshot. Even though Susan hadn’t glimpsed his face, something about his voice made an impression. She felt sure the same could not be said about her. She hadn’t bothered with any makeup that morning and was wearing old shorts and a T-shirt.
The next morning, she and the dog, Buddy, were again on their walk when a dark-green Lincoln Mark VIII pulled up, and a man inside said hello. She recognized the voice from the previous day. “Why not come to breakfast?” he asked.

Click here to read the full story.

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